Looking Ahead: Caregivers’ COVID-19 Vaccination Intention for Children 5 years old and younger

forthcoming, Vaccine.

Abstract: Little research has been conducted to examine parents’ intention to vaccinate their young children for COVID19. An online survey with a national U.S. sample of 682 primary caregivers of children under age six assessed variables associated with intention to accept the COVID-19 vaccine for their children from November 13, 2020, to December 8, 2020. 

Caregivers whose child received a recent influenza vaccine, as well as those with previous experience COVID-19, were more likely to express COVID-19 vaccination intention for their young child. Identifying as female was associated with lower COVID-19 vaccination intention, while identifying as Hispanic or Latino was associated with higher intention. Health Belief Model variables of perceived severity of COVID-19 for their child, as well as vaccine confidence, were positive predictors of COVID-19 vaccine intention and mediated the relationship between prior behavior, demographic variables, and intention. The findings highlight the importance of early, proactive COVID-19 vaccination education efforts directed at caregivers with young children. Vaccines for young children will likely become a necessary part of ending the pandemic’s impact in school settings. Operationally, COVID-19 vaccination may also become a part of childhood vaccination schedules. Understanding the beliefs and intentions of caregivers of young children before vaccinations are recommended for children will enable public health officials and medical practitioners to prepare in advance. 

Glen Nowak 

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