Over 80% of physicians plan to vaccinate their children under age 12 against COVID-19 after a vaccine receives emergency use authorization for this age group from the FDA, according to a new poll conducted by the HERO Registry, a nationwide community of healthcare workers created to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the front line.

For healthcare workers overall, however, that percentage dips to 60%.

“The HERO Registry is good way to take a pulse check when it comes to vaccination trends,” said Emily O’Brien, PhD, principal investigator of the HERO Registry and Associate Professor and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. “Just as we saw variation by profession and race when asked about vaccine willingness for adults, we are seeing similar trends for making vaccination decisions for children.”

More than 2,000 healthcare workers responded to a HERO Registry poll about plans to vaccinate children, which was conducted in June 2021. Of those responding, 29% have a child under the age of 12. The survey found that overall most healthcare workers with children under 12 plan to either vaccinate their children immediately (60%) or will wait to see how the vaccine is working in this age group (30%).  About 5% said they would only vaccinate their child if required to and 4% said they would definitely not vaccinate their child. Responses varied by profession. When asked if they would immediately vaccinate their child when vaccines are authorized the following groups said, “Yes.”:

  • Physicians: 80%
  • Physician assistants and nurse practitioners: 73%
  • Emergency medical technicians and paramedics: 66%
  • Registered and licensed practical nurses: 51%

The survey also found differences by race and ethnicity with respondents who are African American equally likely to report that they would vaccinate their child immediately (45%) or wait a while to see how the vaccine works in children (45%), but no African American respondents saying that they would definitely not vaccinate their child. Sixty-two percent of respondents who are white said that they would vaccinate immediately, 28% said they would wait, and 4% said they would definitely not vaccinate their child.

“While our sample size was small, the results provide insight about how families will make decisions as we get ready for emergency use authorization for children under 12,” said O’Brien. “Our healthcare workers are often trusted leaders in their communities and will likely influence the decisions of their family, friends, and neighbors.”

“As someone who has been working in a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, it is vital children get vaccinated. Children deserve to be able to have a sense of normalcy with school, camps, friends, and sport while also doing it safely,” said one HERO member. Another commented “I am encouraging my patients to get their children vaccinated. Many children (not just adults) have died from COVID-19.”

Anyone who works in a healthcare setting, their family members, and close community contacts are invited to join the HERO Registry, a group of 50,000 people who share what it is like to work and live during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Registry member, you can help identify priorities for research and possible solutions for people impacted by the pandemic. The HERO Registry leverages PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

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