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, 69% of people say concerns over side effects will keep them from vaccinating their children
  • Roughly one in three people (32%) don’t believe the vaccine will work on children
  • More than 30% of people don’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine or government officials
  • South Dakota, Vermont, Montana, Arizona and Pennsylvania have the highest numbers of people who don’t vaccinate their children

In Hawaii, 93% of people who are against vaccinations say they won’t vaccinate their children because they’re concerned about side effects. Nearly 41% of Washington respondents aren’t sure if their children need the vaccine. And in South Dakota, 31% of people say they don’t vaccinate their children. 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 67% 10% 33% 26% 2%
Alaska 55% 33% 38% 45% 4%
Arizona 70% 38% 51% 50% 11%
Arkansas 55% 28% 19% 33% N/A
California 76% 18% 26% 36% 1%
Colorado 66% 27% 31% 42% 1%
Connecticut 60% 28% 38% 27% N/A
Delaware 85% 28% 48% 15% N/A
Florida 62% 17% 30% 39% 5%
Georgia 75% 34% 29% 36% 6%
Hawaii 93% 35% 29% 54% 8%
Idaho 68% 35% 41% 40% 9%
Illinois 82% 37% 38% 38% 2%
Indiana 61% 13% 25% 17% 4%
Iowa 48% 37% 27% 57% 4%
Kansas 67% 41% 41% 43% 3%
Kentucky 91% 36% 33% 51% 2%
Louisiana 55% 15% 37% 40% 2%
Maine 42% 32% 30% 34% 5%
Maryland 63% 6% 52% 38% 6%
Massachusetts 67% 10% 46% 22% N/A
Michigan 62% 23% 36% 23% 5%
Minnesota 63% 31% 28% 21% 8%
Mississippi 55% 7% 51% 26% N/A
Missouri 77% 26% 34% 32% N/A
Montana 57% 26% 34% 27% 16%
Nebraska 51% 19% 20% 40% N/A
Nevada 63% 20% 24% 40% 3%
New Hampshire 58% 26% 31% 28% N/A
New Jersey 84% 39% 33% 68% N/A
New Mexico 70% 12% 40% 36% 2%
New York 65% 24% 36% 22% N/A
North Carolina 57% 8% 20% 39% 1%
North Dakota 66% 23% 33% 48% 4%
Ohio 76% 33% 50% 25% 1%
Oklahoma 65% 36% 21% 45% 4%
Oregon 63% 31% 28% 49% 7%
Pennsylvania 61% 34% 33% 56% 12%
Rhode Island 56% 8% 4% 32% 8%
South Carolina 63% 23% 36% 20% 3%
South Dakota 79% 40% 31% 46% 31%
Tennessee 67% 20% 41% 22% 2%
Texas 82% 20% 28% 38% 1%
Utah 61% 22% 33% 35% 5%
Vermont 63% 21% 37% 24% 19%
Virginia 66% 29% 34% 31% 2%
Washington 70% 47% 35% 33% 7%
West Virginia 55% 22% 21% 43% 0%
Wisconsin 68% 20% 25% 32% 1%
Wyoming 53% 24% 32% 39% 5%
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, 69% of respondents said concerns over side effects would keep them from vaccinating their child. Compare that to the 57% of unvaccinated adults who are worried about side effects.

Coronavirus cases are rising 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%.