Nearly 25% of US parents were vaccine hesitant before COVID-19 – Healio

Data from a survey representing more than 7,500 parents showed that about one-quarter were hesitant to get their child vaccinated.
The survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior data indicate that only 44% of children aged 24 months are fully vaccinated according to CDC and AAP recommendations, Kimberly H. Nguyen, DrPH, MS, an epidemiologist at the CDC, and colleagues wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In addition, the percentage of children who had completed the combined seven-vaccine series — diphtheria, tetanus toxoid and acellular pertussis; inactivated poliovirus; measles, mumps and rubella; Haemophilus influenzae type b; hepatitis B; varicella; and pneumococcal conjugate — was “well below” the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80%, they added.
“Countering vaccine hesitancy is critical to strengthen trust in vaccines among parents and maintain a culture that recognizes the continuing value of vaccines to prevent diseases,” the researchers wrote. “A better understanding of how parents’ vaccine hesitancy beliefs are associated with decreased childhood vaccinations across different socioeconomic populations is an important step in developing tailored intervention strategies.”
In the current study, Nguyen and colleagues reviewed surveys completed in 2018 and 2019 by 7,645 parents of children aged 19 to 35 months to determine the role of parental vaccine hesitancy in child vaccination coverage.
The results showed that 23.6% of parents were hesitant toward pediatric vaccinations, 24.3% said they were concerned about the number of vaccines administered at one time and 23.2% were concerned about serious, long-term adverse events of vaccination. Also, 10.6% of the respondents said they knew someone who experienced such an event, 12.4% said their child’s doctor “was not the most trusted source of information about childhood vaccines,” and 5.3% said they followed a vaccination schedule other than the one encouraged by the CDC and AAP.
In addition, 16.4% of non-Hispanic white survey respondents indicated vaccine hesitancy, compared with 37% of non-Hispanic Black and 30.1% of Hispanic survey respondents. Mothers were more likely to be vaccine hesitant than fathers (26.4% vs. 15.4%), as were mothers who did not finish high school vs. those who received more than a college education (31.9% vs. 13%) and parents who lived below the poverty line vs. those who lived at or above it (35.6% vs 18.5%).
The new findings closely align with older studies that examined vaccine uptake among underrepresented populations, according to Nguyen and colleagues.
The researchers provided several CDC-endorsed strategies for increasing vaccine uptake and vaccine confidence, including determining which populations have low vaccination rates; providing data during office visits to back up physician-made claims; and discussing and dispelling myths and misinformation with patients who are vaccine hesitant.
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