How to Motivate Parents to Vaccinate Children Against COVID-19


A recent study conducted by Dr. Katharine Head, an Associate Professor of Communications Studies at IUPUI, found that less than 50% of Hoosier parents have already or would vaccinate their child against COVID-19. 

Along with her colleagues at IUPUI and in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Education, Dr. Head surveyed 10,266 Hoosier parents and caregivers, representing more than 20,000 Indiana students, about their attitudes towards vaccinating their children against COVID-19. 

  • 48%-49% said they have or would vaccinate their children (acceptors)
  • 23%-25% said they wanted to wait and see (hesitators)
  • 25%-26% said they would not vaccinate (rejectors)

The research shows the parents’ vaccination decisions are related to a variety of factors:

  • Demographics (e.g., income)
  • Awareness of the disease and vaccine
  • Their perceptions:
    • disease risk
    • necessity of vaccine
    • vaccine-related social norms
    • vaccine safety
    • vaccine efficacy
  • Healthcare provider recommendation (!)

In addition, the vaccine hesitators are more likely to endorse the following vaccine perceptions:

  • Its effectiveness in preventing illness in children
  • That vaccinated children are less likely to infect adults
  • The vaccine helps protect children from getting sick from COVID
  • Millions of children have been safely vaccinated for COVID
  • Indicate the influence of others:
    • A close friend of the family got their children vaccinated
    • The child’s healthcare provider recommended they get vaccinated (!)

Using the data collected, Dr. Head determined that to motivate the hesitators to vaccinate their children, healthcare providers should emphasize the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for their children more than highlighting the risks of the disease. 

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