Parents’ intention to vaccinate their child for COVID-19: A mixed-methods study (CoVAccS–wave 3)

Louise E. Smith, Susan M. Sherman, Julius Sim, Richard Amlôt, Megan Cutts, Hannah Dasch, Nick Sevdalis, G. James Rubin

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Aim To investigate UK parents’ vaccination intention at a time when COVID-19 vaccination was available to some children. Methods Data reported are from the second wave of a prospective cohort study. We conducted a mixed-methods study using an online survey of 270 UK parents (conducted 4–15 October 2021). At this time, vaccination was available to 16- and 17-year-olds and had become available to 12- to 15-year-olds two weeks prior. We asked participants whose child had not yet been vaccinated how likely they were to vaccinate their child for COVID-19. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate factors associated with intention (quantitative component). Parents were also asked for their main reasons behind vaccination intention. Open-ended responses were analysed using content analysis (qualitative component). Results Parental vaccination intention was mixed (likely: 39.3%, 95% CI 32.8%, 45.7%; uncertain: 33.9%, 95% CI 27.7%, 40.2%; unlikely: 26.8%, 95% CI 20.9%, 32.6%). Intention was associated with: parental COVID-19 vaccination status; greater perceived necessity and social norms regarding COVID-19 vaccination; greater COVID-19 threat appraisal; and lower vaccine safety and novelty concerns. In those who intended to vaccinate their child, the main reasons for doing so were to protect the child and others. In those who did not intend to vaccinate their child, the main reason was safety concerns. Conclusions Parent COVID-19 vaccination status and psychological factors explained a large percentage of the variance in vaccination intention for one’s child. Further study is needed to see whether parents’ intention to vaccinate their child is affected by fluctuating infection rates, more children being vaccinated, and the UK’s reliance on vaccination as a strategy to live with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0279285
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection was funded by a Keele University Faculty of Natural Sciences Research Development award to SMS, JS and NS, and a King’s COVID Appeal Fund award granted jointly to LS, GJR, RA, NS, SMS and JS (no grant numbers). NS is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. NS is a member of King’s Improvement Science, which offers co-funding to the NIHR ARC South London and is funded by King’s Health Partners (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust), and the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the charities, UK Health Security Agency or the Department of Health and Social Care. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Smith et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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