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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

Simon Williams Orcid Logo

Public Health, Volume: 205, Pages: 116 - 121

Swansea University Author: Simon Williams Orcid Logo

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Abstract

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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Published in: Public Health
ISSN: 0033-3506
Published: Elsevier BV 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59992
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Abstract: 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.
Keywords: COVID-19, Public attitudes, Qualitative, Vaccine hesitancy, Vaccine uptake
College: School of Management
Funders: This research was supported by the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology based at the University of Manchester and Swansea University's ‘Greatest Need Fund’.
Start Page: 116
End Page: 121