The willingness of parents to vaccinate their children younger than 12 years against COVID-19: a cross-sectional study in Malaysia.BMC Public Health. 2022 06 29; 22(1):1265.BP
The initiation of a new drug, for instance, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine in children could be a source of major concern for parents. This study aims to determine the willingness of parents in Malaysia to vaccinate their children younger than 12 years against COVID-19.
An online cross-sectional survey was conducted nationwide in Malaysia from August 29, 2021, to October 17, 2021. Parents with children younger than 12 years were enrolled via the snowball sampling method.
The analysis included data from 3,528 parents (79.5%) of the 4,438 survey responses received. Of these parents, 2,598 (73.6%) were willing, 486 (13.8%) were not willing, and 444 (12.6%) were still hesitant to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Single parents (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-3.04; P = 0.001), parents with secondary or lower education (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.21-1.96; P < 0.001), healthcare workers (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.34-2.26; P < 0.001), parents who had significant contact with COVID-19 (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.09-1.63; P = 0.006), and parents who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 (OR, 15.4; 95% CI, 9.76-24.33; P < 0.001) were found more willing to immunize their children. The common reasons for vaccination given by parents who were willing to immunize their children include protection of children (99.4%), protection of other family members (99.3%), and effectiveness (98.2%). The common reasons against vaccination given by parents who were not willing to immunize their children were uncertainty about the new vaccine (96.1%), concerns about vaccine contents (93.2%), limited vaccine information from physicians (82.3%), and the belief of vaccine was unsafe (79.8%).
In this study, nearly three-quarters of parents were willing to vaccinate their children younger than 12 years against COVID-19. The parents' history of COVID-19 vaccination was the strongest independent predictor of their willingness to vaccinate their children. Therefore, future health education for the COVID-19 vaccine should focus on parents who are prone to vaccine refusal or hesitation, address the common reasons for vaccine refusal, and highlight the vaccine's benefits.