Parents Voice Preferences Regarding Vaccines and Masks for Children
About twice as many parents whose child’s school encouraged vaccination report that their child is vaccinated compared to those whose schools did not.
The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor has kept a close pulse on the ongoing debate about parents’ attitudes about COVID-19 vaccinations and mask mandates for children. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research, they have compiled this information into a comprehensive report, of which many of the findings concerning opinions about COVID-19-related school policy are reported here.
As children have returned to school, 41% have been vaccinated, and 6% of the parents of those who haven’t say they will get the vaccine immediately. Parents of unvaccinated teens attribute their decision to concerns about the shot’s potential long-term side effects. Hispanic and Black parents are more likely than White parents to cite concerns that reflect access barriers to vaccination, including not being able to get the vaccine from a trusted place, believing they may have to pay an out-of-pocket cost or difficulty traveling to a vaccination site.
As for the parents of children under 12 who are ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as of press time, four in 10 indicate that their children will be vaccinated once it’s authorized for this age group.
The support of schools seems to correlate to parents’ decisions to have their children vaccinated. Parents of 12-17-year-olds who said their schools provided information about COVID-19 or encouraged getting vaccinated are more likely than those whose schools did not provide information to say their child has received a COVID-19 vaccine (58% vs. 32%). Similarly, about twice as many parents whose child’s school encouraged vaccination report that their child is vaccinated compared to those whose schools did not (62% vs. 30%).
Regardless of vaccination status, 58% of parents of 12-17 year-olds say their child’s school should not require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19, and a similar share (54%) of parents of all school-age children say schools should not require vaccination even once the FDA has fully approved the use of a COVID-19 vaccine in children. However, 63% of all parents of children who attend school think their child’s school should require unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks at school.
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