1 in 5 Parents of Children Under 5 Intend to Get Them a COVID-19 Vaccine Right Away Once Eligible; Most Say Approval Delays Have Not Shaken Their Confidence in Vaccine’s Safety and Effectiveness

About a Third of the Public Thinks the Nation is Facing a New COVID-19 Wave as Cases Rise

About a fifth (18%) of parents with children under age 5 say they intend to get their child vaccinated “right away” once federal regulators authorize its use for their child’s age group, the latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey shows. Another 38% say they would want to “wait and see” how it works for other young children before getting their child vaccinated.

The survey was fielded just prior to news about Moderna’s request for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize their vaccine’s use in children under 5. The results suggest that there would be an initial vaccination surge once approved, as occurred when other age groups first became eligible. Even so, significant shares of these parents are reluctant, with 27% saying they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated and 11% saying they would do so “only if required” for school or daycare.

Earlier this year, the FDA delayed potential authorization of a vaccine for use in children under age 5 to wait for more data about its safety and effectiveness. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents with young children say the FDA’s delay has not affected their confidence in the safety the vaccines for this age group. Smaller shares say the delay made them more (22%) or less (13%) confident.

With COVID-19 restrictions fading from restaurants, retail stores and other venues, and many workers returning to their offices and job sites, most (88%) workers who work outside their homes say they feel either “very” (55%) or “somewhat” (33%) safe from COVID-19 while at their job sites.

There are big differences by race, ethnicity, and income. Much smaller shares of Black (31%) and Hispanic (48%) workers than White (63%) workers say they feel “very safe.” Similarly, workers with incomes under $40,000 annually are also less likely than those with higher incomes to say they feel “very safe” (41% vs. 57%).

While mask requirements fade in most settings, more than a third (38%) of workers say they wore a mask all or most of the time while indoors at their workplace in the past month, while 43% say they never wore one. In addition, 3 in 10 (30%) say that all or most of their co-workers regularly wear masks.

Most Black (64%) and Hispanic (52%) workers, and most of those with lower incomes (61%), say they wore a mask every or most of the time at work in the past 30 days. These workers are also more likely than their counterparts to say that all or most of their coworkers regularly wear masks too.

“America’s workers are trying to put the pandemic behind them, but that’s tougher for Black, Latino and low-income workers who are much less likely to feel very safe at work and are more likely to wear masks,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said.

There’s a similar pattern in the views of parents about the safety of their children’s schools.

Most (84%) parents say they feel their children are “very” (44%) or “somewhat” (40%) safe from COVID-19 while at school, though fewer Black and Hispanic parents (33%) than White parents (52%) say that they feel their child is “very safe.”

Three-quarters (75%) of parents now say their children’s schools do not have any mask requirements for students and staff, a major shift from the start of the school year in September when 69% of parents said their school required universal masking.

About four in ten parents (41%) say their child regularly wears a mask at school, either voluntarily or because their school requires it. Black and Hispanic parents are more than twice as likely as White parents to say their child usually wears a mask (70% vs. 26%).

About a Third of the Public Thinks the Nation is Facing a New COVID-19 Wave as Cases Rise

As COVID-19 cases have begun to rise nationally in recent weeks, a little more than a third (35%) of adults think there is a new wave of COVID-19 infections hitting the country. Most say either that there is not a new wave (50%) or that they aren’t sure if there is (14%).

People’s perceptions on this question seem to reflect their view of what is happening among their own family and friends. Most (62%) say that they have seen fewer cases in the past 30 days among people than know. Half (51%) also say that the people they know who got COVID-19 recently are experiencing less severe symptoms than those infected in previous waves.

Vaccination and Booster Rates for Adults and Eligible Children Are Little Changed So Far This Year

The latest survey shows that vaccination and booster rates among adults and eligible children have leveled off.

Among adults, three quarters (75%) say they have been vaccinated, and nearly half (47%) received a booster dose (representing about 73% of those adults likely eligible to receive a booster). These numbers are little changed since February.

While previous Vaccine Monitor surveys found White adults were more likely than Black and Hispanic adults to report having received a booster, the newest survey shows similar shares of Black (47%), Hispanic (43%), and White (48%) adults now report receiving a booster.

Among vaccinated adults who have not received a booster shot, half either say they will “definitely not” get one (23%) or will get one only if required (27%). Most who are eligible but have not gotten a booster say they feel they have sufficient protection from their initial vaccination or a prior infection.

Among parents of adolescent children (ages 12-17), more than half (56%) say their teen has gotten a vaccine. Among parents of children ages 5-11, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) say their child has gotten a vaccine. These shares are largely unchanged since earlier this year.

Other findings include:

  • When asked who people trust to provide reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccines, personal doctors top the list, with 85% of adults saying they trust their personal doctor at least a fair amount and 83% of parents saying they trust their child’s pediatrician at least that much. About two-thirds trust COVID-19 vaccine information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (64%) or the FDA (62%), and about half of adults trust their state government officials (54%), Dr. Anthony Fauci (53%), and President Joe Biden (49%).
  • The public’s trust in President Biden, the FDA, the CDC, and Dr. Fauci for reliable COVID-19 information has declined over the past 17 months, especially among Republicans. For example, six in ten Republicans (62%) said they trusted the FDA in December 2020, compared 43% who say so now. Trust in these sources for vaccine information remains high among Democrats.
  • With a new omicron subvariant continuing to spread nationally, 61% of the public says that they and their families are “very prepared” for any future rise of cases, and two-thirds (66%) of employed adults say their workplace is very prepared. Slightly less than half of parents (45%) say their child’s school is very prepared for a rise in COVID-19 cases due to new variants.
  • In contrast, fewer report that their local area more generally is very prepared for a rise in COVID-19 cases (36%) or that the U.S. overall is very prepared (25%).

Designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF, the Vaccine Monitor survey was conducted from April 13-26, 2022, among a nationally representative random digit dial telephone sample of 1,889 adults, including an oversample of 501 Hispanic adults and 500 non-Hispanic Black adults. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (212) and cell phone (1,677). The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research, this project tracks the dynamic nature of public opinion as vaccine development and distribution unfold, including vaccine confidence and acceptance, information needs, trusted messengers and messages, as well as the public’s experiences with vaccination.

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