Few parents are eager to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19 over concerns that the inoculation could harm their child’s fertility in the future.
COVID-19 vaccines are only currently available for children over the age of 12 but Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency use authorization to administer it to kids as young as five. If approved, it’ll be the first COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 and the Biden administration has already secured enough shots to vaccinate all 28 million children who would be eligible.
However, it’s likely that many of those doses go unused, at least in the beginning. Only 27 percent of parents plan to get their child inoculated once the vaccine is available, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released on Thursday. Thirty-three percent planned to “wait and see” before deciding about the vaccine and 30 percent would “definitely not” get their child vaccinated.
The potential for long-term side effects is fueling hesitation among parents to get their children vaccinated and 76 percent of parents were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about not enough being known about long-term impacts.
The COVID-19 vaccine potentially negatively impacting their child’s fertility was also a top worry for parents. Two-thirds of the 1,519 people surveyed said they were at least somewhat concerned about fertility issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to get inoculated against COVID-19, including women who are trying to conceive. There has been no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine impacts fertility, but some who remain skeptical have noted that the vaccine hasn’t been around long enough to analyze long-term effects.
Along with concerns about long-term problems associated with the vaccine, 71 percent of parents were concerned about their child having immediate serious side effects from the vaccine.
Although vaccines for children are voluntary, it’s possible parents could be forced to inoculate their children against COVID-19 in the future if they want to attend school. California became the first state to announce plans to require the COVID-19 vaccination for public school students. Governor Gavin Newsom noted that the state already requires students to be vaccinated against other viruses so there’s “no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19.”
However, the requirement won’t go into effect until the vaccine is FDA approved, which is likely months away. Pfizer’s vaccine didn’t receive FDA approval for eight months after the agency granted the emergency use authorization.
While the hope is that vaccine requirements motivate people to get vaccinated, only 5 percent of parents surveyed in the Kaiser Family Foundation poll said they would get their child vaccinated if it was required.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.