After the completion of successful clinical trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children 6 months of age or older, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccine has been proven to mitigate the more serious symptoms of the virus and has reduced the need for hospitalization in 85% of pediatric cases (via Healthline).
Even if your child has already had COVID-19, it is still recommended that they receive the vaccine, as this can create additional protection against any future exposure to the virus, per CDC. This is referred to as "hybrid immunity" which occurs when you have had the virus as well as the vaccine, per Healthline. The protection that occurs from both the virus and the vaccine has been proven to be more effective at preventing future infections than just getting the vaccine or just contracting the virus alone.
Although the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines for children have been substantiated by health experts, parents remain reluctant to vaccinate their children.
Even though the option to vaccinate young children against COVID-19 is now available, the rates at which children are getting vaccinated remain low. About 60% of children ages 12 to 17 and 30% of children ages 5 to 11 have been vaccinated. The vaccination rate for children 6 months to 4 years, however, is only 3% (via Healthline).
A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey found that over 40% of parents who have children 6 months to 4 years of age report that they will not be getting their child vaccinated. Reasons for this hesitation include distrust based on how new the vaccine is, concern over a lack of testing and research, and worries about potential side effects. 55% of parents with children 5 and younger reported that they were confused by the guidelines set forth by federal agencies, with 70% of parents choosing to hold off on vaccinating until they are able to speak with their child's pediatrician.