May 21, 2024

Survey: Teens, parents mistrust vaccines

Editor's Note

Only 46% of parents and 33% of teenagers believe receiving the latest COVID-19 vaccine was important, according to survey results presented by at a May 2-6 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in Toronto, Canada.  

According to a May 9 Helio report on the findings, the survey is the third of its type by Unity Consortium, a group focused on overcoming barriers to vaccination. Compared to results from 2016 and 2019, recent data indicate that vaccine knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors are becoming more negative.  “We noticed through our clinical work that the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to shift patients’ attitudes and approaches to all vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines,” Amy R. Grube, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western University School of Medicine, and Amy Middleman, MD, MSEd, MPH, endowed chair at UH Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, told Healio in a joint statement. “People seemed much more willing to decline vaccinations since the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a worrisome trend that we wanted to continue to study.”

Conducted in October 2023, the survey compared responses from 507 parents and 512 adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years with responses collected in 2021. In 2023, 70% of parents and 56% of teenagers felt that it was important teens receive all recommended vaccines to stay healthy—a decline from 85% of parents and 82% of teenagers two years prior. Also, 60% of parents and 61% of teenagers reported concerns about the safety of vaccines in general, and 58% of all participants reported concerns about efficacy — similar responses to 2021.

Only 46% of parents and 33% of teenagers felt it important to receive the latest COVID-19 vaccine, and 38% of parents and 40% of teenagers said they did not plan for the teen to receive the newest COVID-19 vaccine. Asked about the most trustworthy sources of information, 65% of parents said they trust primary care providers and 55% report trust in pharmacists.


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