Willingness to vaccinate children against COVID-19 declined during the pandemic
Goldman RD, Hart RJ, Bone JN, et al. Willingness to vaccinate children against COVID-19 declined during the pandemic. Vaccine. 2023;41(15):2495-2502. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.02.069
Objectives: To document the level of vaccine hesitancy in caregivers' of children younger than 12 years of age over the course of the pandemic in Pediatric Emergency Departments (ED). Study design Ongoing multicenter, cross-sectional survey of caregivers presenting to 19 pediatric EDs in the USA, Canada, Israel, and Switzerland during first months of the pandemic (phase1), when vaccines were approved for adults (phase2) and most recently when vaccines were approved for children (phase3).
Results: Willingness to vaccinate rate declined over the study period (59.7%, 56.1% and 52.1% in the three phases). Caregivers who are fully vaccinated, who have higher education, and those worried their child had COVID-19 upon arrival to the ED, were more likely to plan to vaccinate in all three phases. Mothers were less likely to vaccinate early in the pandemic, but this hesitancy attenuated in later phases. Older caregivers were more willing to vaccinate, and caregivers of older children were less likely to vaccinate their children in phase 3. During the last phase, willingness to vaccinate was lowest in those who had a primary care provider but did not rely on their advice for medical decisions (34%). Those with no primary care provider and those who do and rely on their medical advice, had similar rates of willingness to vaccinate (55.1% and 52.1%, respectively).
Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is widespread and growing over time, and public health measures should further try to leverage identified factors associated with hesitancy in order to enhance vaccination rates among children.