Some parents have completely avoided talking about their children’s vaccines during the pandemic, new research shows.
According to a new survey, one in seven parents in the United States say they haven’t talked to their child’s doctor about vaccines since the start of the pandemic.
Researchers from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan conducted a survey of 2,023 people with children aged months to 18 years between August and September this year.
However, the report is based on responses from 1,483 parents with at least one child between the ages of six and 18.
The survey found that 82 percent of parents have talked to their doctor about vaccines their children need for school.
And although that number means that most parents are actually talking to a healthcare provider about at least some of their children’s vaccinations, some experts think they’re worryingly low.
Rupali Limaye, assistant director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Schools of Public Health Internal Vaccine Access Center, told CNNBreakingNews she was surprised the number was “not a bit higher.”
“That’s one of the things about a well visit that a provider should discuss with a parent,” said Limaye, who wasn’t involved in preparing the survey or report, about vaccines.
The survey found that 68 percent of parents have talked to their child’s doctor or other healthcare provider about the flu vaccine and that 57 percent have talked about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Limaye added that she wasn’t surprised by the low rates for the flu vaccine, as providers would change their vaccination recommendations based on the strand given each year.
However, the low percentage of parents who talked about a COVID-19 vaccine was shocking, according to Limaye, as the vaccination is about 90 percent effective in preventing the disease in children and adolescents.
Limaye believes the low number of parents who talk to a pediatrician about the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to early reporting about the disease from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The overall message from the government and the CDC was that COVID was mild among children,” said Limaye.
“Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and said, ‘Oh thanks! ‘, at least the kids are doing well,” said Limaye. “However, we know that there were children who were struggling with serious [health] issues associated with COVID.”
The co-director of the survey and lead author of the report, Sarah Clark, believes that the lack of access to the COVID-19 vaccine in some communities has contributed to the low conversation rate about the vaccine.
“Many pediatrician offices didn’t have the COVID-19 vaccine in the office,” Clark explained, explaining that many parents call their child’s doctor about the vaccine and were then told to get it somewhere else.
As a result, those responsible for introducing the vaccine “interfered” with parents’ ability to talk about the vaccine and get the shot at the same time, which is usually the case with other childhood vaccinations, Clarke added.
Meanwhile, 15 percent of parents said they hadn’t talked to their child’s doctor about vaccines, and three percent said they had even postponed or skipped a visit to a pediatrician’s office to avoid talking about vaccines for their child.
Survey results show that a small group of parents, 4 percent, have just talked to a nurse or pharmacist about their child’s school vaccine.
Another small percentage of parents (ages 8 and 14) have only talked to a pharmacist or nurse about the flu or COVID-19 vaccine for their child.