For Immediate Release
October 14, 2021
Contact: Carol Walsh
National Association of School Nurses
news release printable version
Two in Three Parents of Children Ages 5-11 Plan to Vaccinate Their Child Against COVID-19
New data shows sixty percent of parents of school-aged children support vaccine requirements to attend school in-person
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 14, 2021 – Two-thirds of parents with children ages 5-11 years old say they are likely to get them vaccinated against COVID-19 once a vaccine is authorized for that age group, according to new survey data of parents with children ages 5-18 years old, released today by the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project – a group of more than 225 leading organizations representing patients, caregivers and families, diverse communities, healthcare workers, older Americans, veterans, frontline workers, and scientists aimed at convening a dialogue around vaccine education – and the National Association of School Nurses, the trusted voice of school nursing and advocate for student health and safety.
For parents of 5-18-year-olds, their likelihood to vaccinate their child, and their support for vaccine requirements, depended heavily on their personal vaccination status. Among unvaccinated parents, the biggest factor in their decision not to get vaccinated themselves is a worry that the vaccines were developed too quickly, followed by concerns about potential side effects – mirroring reasons why hesitant parents do not immediately plan to vaccinate their children once eligible.
Asked vaccination requirements in schools, the survey shows that 60 percent of parents of school-aged children (5-18 years of age) support schools requiring eligible children to get a vaccine to attend school in-person. Nearly 80 percent of parents who have been vaccinated supported this concept (78 percent support), with even greater support (86 percent) among parents of children 12-18 years of age who have already been vaccinated. There were regional differences as well. Specifically, a majority of parents in the West (69 percent), Northeast (63 percent), and South (60 percent) all support in-school vaccination requirements, but fewer than half in the Midwest (48 percent) agree.
“While we’re encouraged to see that a majority of parents intend to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 once they are eligible there is clearly more work to be done to help address parents’ questions and ease concerns about the vaccines,” said Beth Battaglino, RN-C, CEO of HealthyWomen and Co-Convener of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project. “Reaching people where they are, listening and working with trusted community voices to help instill confidence in the vaccine development and regulatory approval process is crucial to combat hesitancy and ensure that all families are equipped with the latest vaccine information to make an informed decision.”
“These promising survey results highlight a strong desire among parents to protect their school-aged children from COVID-19 but also the need for increased efforts for continued education about the benefits of vaccination,” Linda Mendonça, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, President, National Association of School Nurses. “School nurses have played a vital role in helping parents navigate the pandemic and we stand ready to help. We are committed to enhancing the health and wellbeing of students and communities across the country.”
Overall survey responses provided important insights about the factors influencing the likelihood to get children vaccinated, as well as what actions might prompt vaccination for this age group broadly.
Concerns about COVID-19
Three-quarters (77 percent) of parents are at least somewhat worried that their child could get COVID-19. Concerns varied based on the parent’s vaccination status, as well as the age of the child. For example, 42 percent of vaccinated parents say they are “very worried” their child could get COVID-19, compared to 29 percent of unvaccinated parents. Concerns were also higher among parents with a younger child. Specifically, 42 percent of parents of 5-11 year olds were “very worried,” while this number dropped to 31 percent of parents of 16-18 year olds.
These concerns also varied slightly by geography and race. Of statistical significance was the geographic breakdown: 49 percent of respondents in the South said they were “very worried” about their child getting sick with the virus, while fewer respondents in the Northeast (32 percent), Midwest (30 percent) and West (30 percent) reported the same level of concern. When examining race, more Black (49 percent) and Hispanic (47 percent) parents reported being “very worried” about their child contracting the virus than white parents (33 percent).
Lingering worries about vaccine development and side effects
Among unvaccinated parents of school-aged children, the biggest factor in their decision not to get vaccinated was a worry that the vaccines were developed too quickly (63 percent say it impacted their decision “a lot”), followed by concern about potential side effects (57 percent), and wanting to wait for more information (48 percent). These reasons mirror those given for why they have not, or do not plan to, vaccinate their child.
When asked to choose from a list of reasons that might change their mind on vaccinating their child, a plurality of parents of unvaccinated children ages 12-18 say none of the factors given would change their mind (40 percent). The top reasons that may impact parents’ decision to vaccinate their child are a requirement by their child’s school (25 percent), full FDA approval (23 percent), or a person in the household being high-risk (23 percent).
These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 22-28, 2021. For the survey, a sample of 1,014 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be parents of at least one child between the ages of 5 and 18. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.
About the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project
As more than 225 leading organizations representing patients, caregivers and families, diverse communities, healthcare workers, older Americans, veterans, frontline workers and scientists, the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project launched in December 2020 to provide information about the clinical trials process, regulatory review, distribution of and access to potential COVID-19 vaccines in a way that promotes equity and trust. Support for the project has been provided by Pfizer, Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. Learn more at covidvaccineproject.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn at @COVIDVxProject.
The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has close to 18,000 members and 50 affiliates, including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing. To learn more about NASN, please visit us on the Web at www.nasn.org or call 866-627-6767.