Parental COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy for children highest among African-Americans

CHICAGO, Ill. — Black parents tend to be more hesitant about vaccinating their children against COVID-19 than other demographics, according to a new study. Researchers from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago report close to half (48%) of all surveyed African-American parents admit to having some concerns over vaccinating their kids in comparison to 33 percent of Latinx parents and 26 percent of white parents.

In light of these results, study authors suggest targeting Black communities specifically with more pro-vaccine awareness campaigns. African-American communities have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to previous studies. With that in mind, the team says this work is yet another reason why Black communities should receive extra attention, information, and support as the pandemic continues.

Who do people trust for their COVID info?

This research also asked participants about where they typically get their COVID-19 related information.

“We found that parents who turn to family, internet and healthcare providers for COVID-19 information were less likely to report vaccine hesitancy for their child,” says co-first study author Jennifer D. Kusma, MD, MS, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s and Instructor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a media release.

“In the past few months, Lurie Children’s physicians have frequently appeared in the media reassuring parents about the safety, effectiveness and importance of vaccinating their children. The insights from our study about trusted sources of information, however, along with our demographic findings, will help with more targeted outreach that hopefully will get more children vaccinated against COVID-19 and bring us closer to herd immunity.”

Researchers conducted the survey locally in the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as within the surrounding Cook County, Illinois suburbs. A total of 1,425 parents raising at least one child younger than 18 years-old took part in the study. Regardless of race, a third of the participants admitted to at least some vaccine skepticism.

“As vaccines are becoming available to younger children, and with continued spikes in COVID-19 cases, it is of the utmost importance that we are able to widely distribute the vaccine,” Dr. Kusma adds. “We especially need to reach the more vulnerable and hesitant populations to help reduce the substantial health inequities we have seen during this pandemic.”

The findings appear in the journal BMC Public Health. 

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