However strongly adults feel about not getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, their feelings regarding their children are even stronger. Our team of analysts looked at the latest information on vaccine hesitancy to find the main reasons why parents don’t want to vaccinate their children.

We found that people are worried about side effects, not convinced their children need the vaccine and don’t trust what government officials have been saying about the coronavirus and the vaccine.

Key findings:

  • Nationwide, 60% of people say concerns over side effects will keep them from vaccinating their children
  • Roughly one in four people (28%) don’t believe the vaccine will work on children
  • More than 37% of people don’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine or government officials
  • Rhode Island, Georgia, and Iowa have the highest numbers of people who don’t vaccinate their children

In Vermont, 100% of people who are against vaccinations say they won’t vaccinate their children because they’re concerned about side effects. Nearly 59% of Ohio respondents aren’t sure if their children need the vaccine. And in Colorado, 61% of people say they won’t vaccinate their children because they don’t trust the government. The percentages change within each state, but our team of analysts found there are five main reasons why people are hesitant to vaccinate their children:

  • They’re concerned about side effects
  • They’re not sure their children need the vaccine
  • They’re waiting to see if the vaccine is safe
  • They don’t trust government officials
  • They don’t vaccinate their children

Respondents were allowed to choose multiple reasons, so the percentages in the table below won’t add up to 100%.

Vaccine hesitancy for children
State % concerned about side effects % not sure if children need it % waiting to see if the vaccine is safe % who don’t trust the government % who don’t vaccinate their children
Alabama 69% 15% 51% 9% N/A
Alaska 72% 45% 50% 43% 26%
Arizona 56% 37% 40% 32% 2%
Arkansas 54% 31% 27% 21% N/A
California 62% 28% 37% 61% 8%
Colorado 50% 35% 21% 42% 1%
Connecticut 65% 28% 38% 43% 11%
Delaware 78% 17% 30% 34% 19%
Florida 66% 40% 50% 51% 1%
Georgia 74% 41% 42% 43% 33%
Hawaii 62% 32% 58% 29% 15%
Idaho 44% 20% 24% 24% 3%
Illinois 56% 25% 9% 33% 12%
Indiana 70% 16% 47% 17% 1%
Iowa 58% 45% 28% 55% 26%
Kansas 51% 29% 40% 31% 12%
Kentucky 63% 9% 59% 32% 8%
Louisiana 57% 24% 36% 34% 12%
Maine 53% 61% 30% 71% 4%
Maryland 45% 11% 44% 34% 3%
Massachusetts 55% 10% 21% 43% 2%
Michigan 55% 21% 27% 47% 0%
Minnesota 66% 34% 59% 50% 8%
Mississippi 53% 13% 43% 26% 0%
Missouri 56% 30% 28% 44% 2%
Montana 54% 33% 50% 46% 5%
Nebraska 74% 57% 28% 55% N/A
Nevada 86% 22% 50% 28% 8%
New Hampshire 33% 26% 25% 19% 4%
New Jersey 68% 15% 31% 5% 7%
New Mexico 76% 11% 23% 24% 7%
New York 68% 12% 36% 36% 14%
North Carolina 63% 26% 26% 40% N/A
North Dakota 72% 32% 31% 40% 4%
Ohio 36% 59% 17% 26% 8%
Oklahoma 51% 33% 29% 30% 8%
Oregon 61% 27% 36% 35% 7%
Pennsylvania 74% 35% 12% 52% 6%
Rhode Island 55% 19% 22% 23% 52%
South Carolina 51% 43% 25% 50% 5%
South Dakota 48% 12% 21% 40% N/A
Tennessee 45% 22% 30% 17% 3%
Texas 56% 18% 43% 33% 5%
Utah 65% 34% 20% 33% 5%
Vermont 100% 32% 68% 58% N/A
Virginia 66% 34% 33% 20% 6%
Washington 55% 36% 33% 47% N/A
West Virginia 45% 12% 25% 17% N/A
Wisconsin 60% 31% 33% 40% 3%
Wyoming 69% 35% 38% 52% N/A
United States 69% 24% 32% 30% 3%
Data is sourced from the United States Census Bureau Household Pulse survey. Parents were asked about children 12 - 17 years old.

Side effects are by far the main reason parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children. Nationwide, 60% of respondents said concerns over side effects would keep them from vaccinating their child. Compare that to the 56% of unvaccinated adults who are worried about side effects.

Coronavirus cases are falling nationwide and a growing number of those cases involve children. Vaccines are a powerful means of protection, but many people are skeptical about the messages they are hearing. Clear communication is key to removing those concerns.

Methodology:

To find the main reasons why people are hesitant to vaccinate their children against the coronavirus, we looked into Household Pulse Survey vaccine hesitancy data for all 50 states. The response percentage for each reason was relative to the total number of respondents for each state, so the percentages don’t add up to 100%.