Survey Shows High Level of Parental Hesitancy for COVID-19 Vaccines

The survey asked about the likelihood of both child and parental vaccination, perceptions about the vaccines and the level of trust in various sources of information.

Results of a national representative survey recently published in Pediatrics indicate a high level of parental hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines.

To assess parents’ willingness to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, the study surveyed parent members (approximately 9000) of a nationally representative probability-based Internet panel (The Understanding America Study). The survey asked about the likelihood of both child and parental vaccination, perceptions about the vaccines, including trust in vaccine development, as well as the level of trust in various sources of information about the vaccines.

Descriptive and multivariate analyses were used to determine the association between the likelihood of a child receiving the vaccine and the age of the child, parent demographics, and parental perceptions surrounding the vaccines.

The analysis included responses from a total of 1745 parents, representing 3759 children. The study authors reported that for 46% of children, parents were very likely or somewhat likely to have their child vaccinated, while for 42%, parents were somewhat unlikely or very unlikely; for 12% of children, parents reported being unsure.

 “The stated likelihood of child vaccination was greater among parents of older children (P <.001) as well as among parents who had a bachelor’s degree or higher education (P <.001), had already received or were likely to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (P <.001), or had Democratic affiliation (P < .001); variations existed by race and ethnicity (P =.04),” the study authors added.

Vaccine safety and adverse effects were cited as major causes for concern. A child’s doctor was reported to be the most trusted source for vaccine information. Over one-third of parents reported being skeptical about the vaccine approval process.

“Despite high levels of vaccine hesitancy, an encouraging finding is that many parents want to ‘wait and see’ and may become more interested in the vaccines as results of the pediatric trials are disseminated and more parents and older children are vaccinated,” the authors concluded.


Szilagyi PG, Shah MD, Delgado JR, et al. Parents’ Intentions and perceptions about COVID-19 vaccination for their children: Results from a national survey. Pediatrics. Published online September 9, 2021. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-052335