New polling by Ipsos shows wide support for offering the COVID-19 vaccine to young people under the age of 17. Three-quarters (75%) support offering the jab to all young people aged 17 or under. A similar proportion support offering the vaccine to those aged 12-15 (74%) while over 4 in 5 (82%) are in favour of offering it to those aged 16-17. Support among parents is slightly lower, but still a majority – for example, 62% of parents support offering the vaccine to all young people aged 17 or under, while one in five (22%) are opposed.
Similarly, two-thirds (67%) of parents of children aged 17 or under say they are at least fairly likely to get their child(ren) vaccinated should it be made available to them, while 3 in 10 (29%) are not. While still a majority, parents of younger children are less likely to have their children vaccinated. Six in ten parents of child(ren) aged 5 or under say they are likely to give them the vaccine, which rises to 7 in 10 parents of 13-15 year olds (70%) and 8 in 10 parents of 16-17-year olds (81%).
Seven in 10 (70%) parents from white ethnic groups say they would get their children the COVID-19 vaccine, only a quarter say they would not (26%). In comparison, 54% of parents from ethnic minority groups would allow their children to take the vaccine, while over 4 in 10 (44%) say they are unlikely to allow this if at all.
The main reasons for parents not getting their children vaccinated is worry about any long-term effects on their health (51% of those who would not get their children vaccinated) or side effects on children (48%), while a third (36%) say they don’t know if the vaccines have been tested for children. Only 15% say they do not trust the government in their advice to take the vaccine.
The most convincing arguments for parents who say they will allow their children to take the COVID-19 vaccine are to prevent the spread of the virus (71%), to prevent their child(ren) from catching Covid (64%) and to allow them to get back to normal more quickly (61%). Other reasons for allowing children to take the vaccine include preventing the spread of the virus to elderly relatives, reducing the likelihood of a new variant and trust in scientists (all 55%).
Kelly Beaver, MD of Public Affairs Ipsos, said:
With two-thirds of parents prepared to get their children vaccinated, there is obviously some appetite for the vaccination programme to be extended below the current limit of 18, should we go down this path. However, there are significant numbers in certain groups who are more hesitant – especially parents of younger children and parents from ethnic minority groups, and if it does go ahead concerns about the potential long-term side-effects of vaccinating younger people will need to be addressed. For the adult population, we have seen take-up of vaccines increase and concerns fall as the programme rolled out – if the vaccine is offered to children, it will be key to monitor this among parents too.
- This data has been collected by Ipsos’s UK KnowledgePanel, a random probability panel which provides gold standard insights into the UK population, by providing bigger samples sizes via the most rigorous research methods. Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 8,206 people over 16 in the UK. This included 2,014 parents of children aged 17 or under. Interviews were conducted online from 10-16 June 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.