Chicago has experienced high case rates of COVID-19, and parents in Chicago have high levels of concern about COVID-19 affecting their families' health. In this report, we explore parents' intentions to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children if a vaccine becomes available. At the time that parents were surveyed for this report (May-July 2020), COVID-19 vaccines were in testing phases but none were yet approved for use.
For this report, we asked over 1,600 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in the city, "How likely would you be to get you and/or your child(ren) vaccinated against coronavirus/COVID-19, if a vaccine were available?" We also asked about their family and their family's health.
Overall, 49% of parents said they were very likely to vaccinate their children, 19% said somewhat likely, 16% said not likely and 16% said they were not sure (Figure 1). Similarly, 49% of parents said they were very likely to vaccinate themselves, 19% were somewhat likely, 16% were not likely and 16% were unsure. These rates are similar to rates of intent among adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves in other studies at the national level. Parents’ likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves was strongly associated with their likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine for their children.
Non-Latinx Black parents were the least likely to say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children: 28% said they were “very likely” to get a vaccine, compared with 45% percent of Latinx parents, 64% of non-Latinx White parents, and 66% of parents who were multi-race or other races (e.g., Asian, biracial) (Figure 2). The same pattern emerged for parents’ likelihood to get a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves. In Chicago, there has been a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-Latinx Black and Latinx Chicagoans, with higher mortality and infection rates among non-Latinx Black individuals and Latinx individuals than in other groups. In our previously released findings, non-Latinx Black parents were also the most concerned about COVID-19 affecting their family’s health. Our data indicate that the communities where we see the greatest burden of illness, in terms of COVID-19 infections and COVID-19-related stress, are also the communities reporting the lowest likelihood of parent and child vaccination against COVID-19.
We also explored parents’ likelihood to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children with other factors such as parent education and parent age. Sixty-six percent of parents with a college degree said they were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their child, compared with 36% of parents with some college or technical school and 40% of parents with high school education or below.
Parents’ likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine for their children increased with parent age. Only 23% of parents 18–25 years old were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children, compared with 48% of parents 26–45 years old and 55% of parents 46 years old and older. This is similar to findings in our previous report on flu vaccination rates which found younger parents were less likely to vaccinate their children against the flu than older parents.
Parents’ likelihood of vaccinating their child against COVID-19 was also connected to their confidence in COVID-19 information from various sources. Parents who were very likely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 were also more likely to have lots of confidence in COVID-19 information from their child’s doctor (73%). In contrast, among parents who were somewhat likely or not likely/not sure about getting a COVID-19 vaccine for their children, only 49% and 48% had lots of confidence in COVID-19 information from their child’s doctor, respectively.
Similarly, among parents who were very likely to vaccinate their child for COVID-19, 59% also had lots of confidence in COVID-19 information from public health websites; but among parents who were somewhat likely or not likely/not sure about vaccinating their child again COVID-19, a smaller proportion had lots of confidence in public health websites (41% and 35%, respectively). Taken together, these findings suggest that parents who are less likely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 may have less trust in healthcare sources including vaccinations, doctors, and public health information. Parents who were unsure about or unlikely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 had lower confidence in other COVID-19 information sources as well, such as news on television and online. These findings may help shape plans to encourage vaccination against COVID-19, especially in communities that have been very adversely affected, as vaccines become available in the coming months.