Parents’ perceptions on COVID-19 vaccination as the new routine for their children ≤ 11 years old

Canadian children 5–11 years old became eligible for COVID-19 vaccination on November 19, 2021, with eligibility for younger children expected later. We aimed to descriptively assess parents’ COVID-19 vaccine intentions and acceptability of future doses, including co-administration and annual vaccination for their children.

We conducted a cross-sectional Canadian online survey of parents from October 14–November 12, 2021, just prior to authorization of the pediatric formulation of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5–11 years. We assessed parents’ intention to vaccinate their children aged 5–11 years, 2–4 years, and 6–23 months; reasons for their intention; and preferences for delivery and access to vaccines.

Of 1,129 parents, 56% intended to vaccinate their child aged 5–11 years against COVID-19; intentions were lower for children aged 6–23 months (41.9%) and 2–4 years (45.4%). Most parents who intended to vaccinate supported co-administration with routine (61.1%) or influenza (55.4%) vaccines, administration at school (63.6%), receipt of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine (57.8%), and annual vaccination (56.4%) for their child.

Despite parents’ high COVID-19 vaccination uptake for themselves (88.8%), intentions for children aged 5–11 years was low. Currently, 56.9% of Canadian children aged 5–11 years have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and only 37.1% are fully vaccinated. Given that intentions for children <5 years was lower than those 5–11 years, we can also expect low uptake in this group.

Parents’ preferences regarding delivery and access to COVID-19 vaccination should be considered by public health officials when planning vaccination strategies for children.

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Humble R, Sell H, Wilson S, Sadarangani M, Bettinger JA, Meyer SB, Dubé E, Lemaire-Paquette S, Gagneur A, MacDonald SE

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