Fewer Children Are Receiving Covid-19 Vaccines Than Adults

Due largely to adult misconceptions about the safety of vaccines in general and COVID vaccines in particular, young children are receiving COVID-19 immunizations at far lower rates than adults.

Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania examined the impact of adults’ false assumptions about the risks associated with receiving the COVID-19 vaccine themselves and with recommending it to children.

The analysis found that as of August 2022, 77% of American adults have gotten the vaccine’s initial primary doses. In contrast, despite the Food and Drug Administration has approved vaccines for children in that age range in the fall of 2021, only approximately 30% of children aged 5 to 11 had received the recommended vaccinations.

A 1,600-adult poll that was completed in four waves between April 2021 and January 2022 provided the researchers with their data. Misinformation was defined for the study’s objectives as “belief in vaccination-related assertions that are at odds with the best available evidence as determined by public health authorities.”

The researchers discovered that adult vaccine hesitation for COVID was linked to false assumptions about both general and individual vaccines, such as the notion that the MMR vaccine causes autism and that all vaccines contain toxins like antifreeze.

Misconceptions about the COVID vaccine specifically included claims that it causes infertility, changes the recipient’s DNA, frequently triggers allergic reactions, and has resulted in thousands of fatalities.

Additionally, they discovered that from April to September 2021, adult vaccination rates were substantially predicted by false perceptions about the safety of vaccines. By September, just 40% of those with the greatest levels of disinformation believed had had the advised doses of vaccination, compared to 96% of those with the lowest levels of belief.

The results of the study demonstrated a correlation between increasing resistance to recommending vaccinations for kids aged 5 to 11 and false information about the safety of vaccines generally and COVID-19 vaccines in particular.

That was especially true for families with children under the age of 18. In comparison to 29% of all respondents, about 40% of adults in those homes indicated they were “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to advise children to get the vaccine. The study found that people who had had the immunization themselves had reservations about recommending it for children.

The lead author of the study, Dan Romer, Ph.D., explained why people’s misconceptions about immunizing children are so closely related to their concerns about vaccines generally in an accompanying news release: “All of the misconceptions we studied focused in one way or another on the safety of vaccination. “Unfortunately, when parents consider immunizing children, such worries weigh even more heavily.”

The research was published online on September 22 in the journal Vaccination under the title “Misinformation about vaccine safety and uptake of COVID-19 immunizations among adults and 5-11-year-olds in the United States.”

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