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Study shows high vaccine hesitancy among parents with children under 5

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 20:34:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It's been a little over a month since children 5 years old and younger became eligible for the COVID vaccine.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 43% of parents with kids under 5 say they will "definitely not" get their kids vaccinated.

"The younger the age group, the more cautious parents are," said Liz Hamel, the Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research.

In San Diego County, only 5.5% of children under five years old have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Hamel said the reasons for parents' vaccine hesitancy are similar to why some adults still haven't gotten the shot.

"They're worried about the side effects for their kids. They're worried about the unknown long-term impacts of the vaccine," Hamel said.

She said some parents also feel getting the vaccine may be a bigger safety risk than contracting the virus.

However, Dr. Abisola Olulade with Sharp Healthcare says otherwise.

"Children can get long and short-term complications from COVID, which can be debilitating and can affect their quality of life," Dr. Olulade said.

Olulade said hesitancy also has partly to do with misinformation or the lack of information about the vaccine.

The study shows 70% of parents say they have not talked to a pediatrician about getting the vaccine for their child.

"I do think as those conversations with pediatricians, with healthcare providers happen over time, we're more likely to see an increase in parents who feel comfortable getting their children vaccinated," Hamel said.

Olulade encourages parents to speak with their child's physician about getting them vaccinated.

She also said public health officials have to do more outreach to address parents' concerns, especially in communities that lack access to healthcare.

"Parents want to do the best thing for their children and we have to let them know that getting your child vaccinated is the best thing," Olulade said.