10 ways parents are feeling about vaccinating their kids, wearing masks

41% of parents of children ages 12-17 say their child has been vaccinated
By: | August 11, 2021

Close to half of parents of unvaccinated teens report that their kids are hesitant about inoculations while some parents of younger children plan to wait even after FDA approves the shot for all Americans.

Across the country, a growing number of states and hundreds of districts are mandating masks but none have required that students get the vaccines, which have only been approved for emergency use and are not available to children under 12.

This latest survey is part of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vaccine Monitor, an ongoing project to assess the public’s attitudes about COVID-19 vaccinations and who people trust to provide accurate information.

Here are the key findings:

  • Nearly half (41%) of parents of children ages 12-17 say their child has already been vaccinated; 6% said their children would get vaccinated right away.
  • The vaccination status of children closely mirrors that of parents, with larger shares of older parents, Democrats, those with higher incomes and those with college degrees saying their child is vaccinated.
  • Nearly four in 10 Republican parents (37%) and half of parents who are unvaccinated themselves say they will “definitely not” get their 12- to 17-year-old vaccinated.
  • Four in 10 parents of children under 12 said that once a vaccine is authorized for their child’s age group they will “wait a while to see how it is working” before getting their child vaccinated.
  • Parents of unvaccinated teens are most concerned about long-term or serious side effects in children.
  • Hispanic and Black parents are more likely than white parents to cite concerns around access, such as not being able to get the vaccine from a trusted place and believing they may have to pay an out-of-pocket cost.
  • Few working parents—particularly those with lower incomes—said their employer offers them paid time off to get their children vaccinated or care for them if they experience vaccine side effects.
  • Four in 10 parents of children ages 12-17 say their teen’s school provided information about COVID-19 vaccines or encouraged parents to get children vaccinated. These parents were more likely to report that their child had been vaccinated.
  • A majority (54%) of parents say schools should not require vaccination even once the FDA has fully approved the shots.
  • More than 60% of all parents their child’s school should require unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks at school, although most Republican parents (69%) oppose such a requirement.