(KRON) — COVID-19 vaccination rates among children under five are now decreasing, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
Researchers also found about 40 percent of parents with young kids said they have no plans to get their little ones vaccinated. “Parents are sort of preceding with more caution on getting vaccines for their children than they were as adults getting it themselves,” said Liz Hamel, KFF Vice President, Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research.
The organization surveyed parents to determine vaccine hesitancy in young kids. “There’s a much larger group that say they want to wait and see on getting their child vaccinated and a really large share that said they just don’t plan to get the vaccine for their child,” said Hamel.
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“This is a choice. It’s not a mandate,” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. As of Wednesday, about 30 percent of Marin County children ages six months to four-years-old have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Dr. Matthew Willis said that’s about 3,000 of some 9,000 children in the county.
“The success with those 3,000 that already got vaccinated thus far, the vast majority of them being vaccinated within the walls of their health care provider clinics, especially our pediatricians so we’re grateful that our pediatricians stepped forward and we are supporting them every way we can to get even more children vaccinated,” said Dr. Willis.
Despite the Kaiser Family Foundation surveys, Bay Area vaccination rates are higher than the national average which is three percent of children who have received their first dose. About 21 percent of children under age four received their first COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco County.
The national findings, however, revealed parents have their own reason on why they do not plan to get their child vaccinated.
“They are concerned about potential side effects and the newness of the vaccines and also the fact that most parents haven’t had a chance to talk to their child’s pediatrician or another health care provider about these vaccines,” said Hamel.
Dr. Willis cautions parents to know the health risks.
“Children are in fact less likely to become severely ill with COVID-19, that’s been true throughout the pandemic and remains true but lower risk doesn’t mean no risk. Children are still ending up in the hospital, we’re still seeing pediatric deaths with COVID-19. Any one death is obviously tragic and preventable with vaccines,” said Dr. Willis.