Thanks to a recent decision by Health Canada, children in British Columbia over the age of six months are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. And a recent study by UBC researchers reveals some surprising attitudes about child vaccination from parents who remain unvaccinated.

Dr. Ran Goldman, professor of pediatrics at UBC, answers some questions for parents looking for more information before vaccinating their children.

What did your new study find?

In collaboration with 21 hospitals across four countries including Canada, we interviewed 4,500 parents and caregivers—19 per cent were unvaccinated, but among the unvaccinated, seven per cent still said they planned to vaccinate their kids. While that may seem like a small percentage, it proves that even some parents who do not get vaccinated understand the vaccine’s importance for children.

Some parents are worried about side-effects—should they be?

Any vaccine will have some side effects, not just COVID vaccines. But many studies have shown that most side effects, including soreness or redness where the shot was given, are mild. And that the risks associated with COVID far outweigh any risks associated with getting the vaccine.

If parents remain skeptical of the vaccine for their child, who should they talk to?

They should speak to someone with firsthand knowledge—family physicians, pediatricians, nurses or pharmacists. Ask questions about the vaccine, its efficacy and the risks of COVID. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge to protect your family from the virus.

Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine and young children via UBC Faculty of Medicine.

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