Parents’ income may predict Covid-19 vaccination choices for their children – Community News
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Parents’ income may predict Covid-19 vaccination choices for their children

A survey of more than 2,000 parents shows that those who are wealthier are more willing to vaccinate their children ages 5 to 11.

Vaccinations for children in this age group started last week. About 900,000 children ages 5 to 11 are expected to have received their first dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine by the end of Wednesday, White House officials said Wednesday, and about 700,000 appointments are scheduled for the next few days. made at pharmacies.

In the survey, 47% of parents with an annual income of $100,000 or more said they were willing to have their children vaccinated. Of the parents with incomes between $75,000 and $99,000, 37% were willing, and of the parents with incomes less than $50,000, 34% said they were willing.

“That trendline was absolutely clear from the lowest through the middle to the highest,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine adviser to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was not involved in the poll.

Lower-income communities have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19. According to CDC data, counties with high populations living in poverty have the highest cumulative death rates during the pandemic, with nearly 295 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 183 deaths per 100,000 people in counties with the lowest number of residents living in poverty.

Reasons for less enthusiasm for vaccines

The online poll of 2,331 parents of children ages 5 to 11 was conducted the week of Oct. 25 by Momentive and Outbreaks Near Me, a team of epidemiologists at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

John Brownstein, co-founder of Outbreaks Near Me, said lower-income people may have a harder time getting their child vaccinated.

“You may need time off to make an appointment, or possibly time off if your child has symptoms after the injection,” Brownstein said. “Unfortunately, the inequalities observed during the pandemic, especially around income, will persist, even around access to vaccines and younger children.”

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According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month, about half of parents with household incomes less than $50,000 said they were very or somewhat concerned about taking time off work to have their child vaccinated or to recover from symptoms.

Nearly 4 in 10 lower-income parents in the survey said they were concerned about the difficulty of traveling to a place to have their child vaccinated.

Schaffner noted that people with higher incomes tend to have more education.

“With more education, you generally have more acceptance of science, and I think you’re more likely to participate in these kinds of public health and other preventive measures as recommended by the medical community,” said Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

‘Meeting people where they are’

Schaffner said the income-related findings could help public health authorities target vaccine messages to that specific population.

“People have studied these kinds of issues and there are lessons on how to communicate with different populations,” he said.

In Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, the local health department places health professionals in schools to support families with information about vaccines, said Halley Reeves, the chief public health strategist for the Oklahoma City-County health department.

If the school identifies a student with limited access to vaccines, the health department provides a referral to a team that will visit the family at home.

“This allows us to really meet people where they are and break down any barriers to receiving a vaccine,” Reeves said.

The health department also makes home visits to vaccinate adults and vaccinations at homeless shelters.

Reeves said the key to all of this is working with 700 organizations, including churches and community groups, to encourage vaccination, she added.

Together, those strategies have worked.

In Oklahoma County, 84% of residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated, Reeves said. Statewide, about 60% of this group is fully vaccinated, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Justin Lape and Danielle Herman of CNN contributed to this report.