Parents' COVID-19 vaccine intentions for children under 5 years: Brief reflections from a qualitative study

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Aim: Australian authorities made COVID-19 vaccines available for children aged under 5 years old with serious comorbidities in August 2022. There is presently no universal programme for young children, but crucial to any rollout's success is whether parents are motivated and able to vaccinate. By examining parents' vaccine intentions, this study aims to inform current and future COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs for children aged under 5 years. Methods: As part of the mixed methods project ‘Coronavax: Preparing Community and Government’ we interviewed 18 Western Australian parents of young children about their intentions in late 2021. Results: Two thirds intended to vaccinate if and when they could, with one third intending to delay for reasons including risk and safety perceptions, fears about side effects and influence from their social networks. However, even those choosing to delay were waiting rather than refusing. Conclusions: To improve uptake, targeted messaging should emphasise that COVID-19 can be a serious disease in young children, with such messaging drawing on the reputability and esteem of scientific and technical authorities. Such messaging should be oriented towards parents of children with serious comorbidities at the present time. It will be important to emphasise that government vaccine recommendations are based on supporting families to protect their children and keep them healthy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-457
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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