A survey published Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows most parents of young children newly eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine are "reluctant" to get their child vaccinated.
It's the first survey conducted by KFF since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for children between six months old and four years old. So far, the study reports 7% of parents of children in that age range have vaccinated their kids.
Matthew Hickney's daughter is one of those vaccinated children.
“The science behind vaccination is very, very sharp. It's tough to deny it," said Hickney, who's daughter turns three soon. “I, myself, actually spent a significant time as an anti-vaxxer... I really sort of confronted every single one of the points that I had, and I came to realize that there's no reason to fear vaccines.”
In an interview with Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver7 was told Colorado has the lowest vaccination rate in the country for general vaccines, meaning an anonymous mother we spoke with is not alone in her beliefs.
"We haven't vaccinated since their birth. We don't vaccinate at all," said the mother of four children, who wished to remain anonymous because she believes her opinion is not popular. “We came to the conclusion that COVID has a very good survival rate, especially for the kiddos... If I go to the doctor, they only have one standard for everyone — one size fits all vaccine program for every single kiddo — and all the kids are different.”
At the Thornton location of Every Child Pediatrics, Dr. Lucas Henderson said he has seen patterns in the concerns parents have when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“One is wanting to have a little more information about what happens with kids that are in that specific age group, and waiting to see what what might happen with other kids getting vaccinated," said Dr. Henderson.
The KFF study listed some of the concerns as side effects from the vaccine, long-term effects, and that the vaccine will not protect a child from actually catching COVID-19. It also said many children who have had the virus dealt with mild cases, which could shape a parent's decision. However, Dr. Henderson said the burden of disease for the younger age group is not the same as it was when there were more restrictions.
“The kids serve as a reservoir that may not have had as much exposure to the virus," Dr. Henderson said.
Seventy percent of the parents surveyed said they have not spoken with their pediatrician or other health care provider about getting their children vaccinated. Dr. Henderson considers that a hopeful part of the survey, thinking further discussion with doctors about the vaccine could lead to a higher percentage of children who are vaccinated.