As of June 15, 2022 a total of 649,178 vaccines were administered in Pennsylvania to children ages five to eleven since November 2, 2021 with 70,934 of those vaccines administered in Allegheny County. Many parents and caregivers of children under the age of five have waited over a year for authorized vaccines to become available for their children and now the wait is over. On June 17th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced authorization of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include use in children down to six months of age for emergency use. This press release includes information about the two vaccines effectiveness, safety standards, ongoing safety monitoring, and potential side effects.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supported this development with pediatrician Yvonne “Bonnie” Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases stating, “families with infants and toddlers need and deserve the same chance to protect their children against this virus.” AAP in this press release urged families to check with their pediatrician and community health care providers on how to get their children vaccinated. However, an April 2022 COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation has discovered that there is hesitancy among parents for various reasons.
The survey found that about only 18 percent of parents of children under age five were eager to get their child vaccinated right away, while 38 percent said they planned to wait a while to see how the vaccine works for others. About four in ten parents of children under five are more reluctant to get their child vaccinated with 27 percent saying they would “definitely not” get their child vaccinated and 11 percent saying they will only do so if they are required.
Over half of the parents of children under five stated that their reason is that they do not have enough information about the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. The survey also found that trust in sources of information depends on how local and personal the source is. Personal doctors and pediatricians were the two highest most trusted sources of vaccine information while institutional sources like the CDC, FDA, and state government officials were among the least trusted.
The survey shows the importance for parents to consult with their local pediatrician in order to make informed decisions on what is best for their family in regards to vaccines. The American Academy of Pediatrics has pediatricians answer common questions parents and caregivers would have along with other FAQ resources for those seeking additional information. It is important to be empathetic to any questions or concerns that parents may have when it comes to vaccines. At the end of the day they are simply trying to make the most informed decisions possible that will be best for their children to remain healthy and safe.