COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage and Hesitancy Among New York City Parents of Children Aged 5–11 Years

Chloe A. Teasdale, PhD; Scott Ratzan, MD, MPA, MA; Lauren Rauh, MPH; Hannah Stuart Lathan, MPH; Spencer Kimball, JD; Ayman El-Mohandes, MD, MPH, MBBCH


Am J Public Health. 2022;112(6):931-936. 

In This Article


In this representative sample of NYC parents surveyed 2 weeks after emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years, almost 40% were vaccine hesitant. This is consistent with a March 2021 survey of NYC parents[8] and suggests that many parents may not vaccinate their children. Also consistent with previous studies, the main reasons for vaccine hesitancy included safety and effectiveness.[8,9] These findings are concerning; however, our data provide information that can inform efforts to increase vaccine acceptability.

Similar to previous studies, non-Hispanic Black parents expressed more vaccine hesitancy compared with non-Hispanic White parents.[8] Racial disparities in vaccine hesitancy are driven by multiple factors—including mistrust and misinformation as well as structural racism—that may require interventions that not only target individuals but also reduce structural barriers.[10] More than half of vaccine-hesitant parents do not believe children need COVID-19 vaccination, suggesting that greater awareness is needed about the risk of COVID-19 infection in children and their role in transmission. Finally, we observed that poor uptake of routine pediatric vaccinations was not associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, likely because of school-based vaccine mandates;[11] however, lack of flu vaccination in children was. Previous studies have shown higher parental hesitancy for flu compared with routine vaccines.[12] Our data provide evidence of this effect with regard to COVID-19, underscoring the importance of vaccine mandates and suggesting that uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will likely be lower in children than mandated immunizations.

Limitations of our study include combined race/ethnicity—which may mask heterogeneity within groups—and lack of information about the specific vaccine-related safety concerns of parents.