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‘I don't want my son to be part of a giant experiment’: public attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines in children
Public Health, Volume: 205, Pages: 116 - 121
Swansea University Author: Simon Williams
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Objectives: This qualitative study explored public attitudes to COVID-19 vaccines in children, including reasons for support or opposition to them.Study design: This was a qualitative study using online focus groups and interviews.Methods: Group and individual online interviews were conducted with a...
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Objectives: This qualitative study explored public attitudes to COVID-19 vaccines in children, including reasons for support or opposition to them.Study design: This was a qualitative study using online focus groups and interviews.Methods: Group and individual online interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 24 adults in the United Kingdom to explore their views on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination in children. Data were analysed using a framework approach.Results: COVID-19 vaccination in children was framed as a complex problem (a ‘minefield’). Six themes emerged to explain participants views: (1) uncertainty over whether children can catch, transmit or be severely harmed by COVID-19; (2) lower risk tolerance for unknown longer term effects of the vaccine in children; (3) association of the vaccine programme with government's handling of the pandemic; (4) local social norms as a driver of hesitancy; (5) vaccinating children as a way to protect vulnerable adults; and (6) children's vaccination as parental choice.Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccination in children is perceived by members of the public as a complex issue, and many are torn or hesitant about the idea. Public health communications will need to combat this hesitancy if vaccine uptake for children is to be pursued as a public health policy.
COVID-19, Public attitudes, Qualitative, Vaccine hesitancy, Vaccine uptake
School of Management
This research was supported by the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology based at the University of Manchester and Swansea University's ‘Greatest Need Fund’.