Awareness and Practices towards Vaccinating Their Children against COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study among Pakistani Parents

Zain Ul Harmain, Noorah A. Alkubaisi, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Salman, Mohamed A. Baraka*, Zia Ul Mustafa*, Yusra Habib Khan, Tauqeer Hussain Mallhi, Johanna C. Meyer, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There are typically lower COVID-19 vaccination rates among developing versus higher-income countries, which is exacerbated by greater vaccine hesitancy. However, despite the increasing evidence of safety, parents are still reluctant to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. This is a concern in countries experiencing successive waves, such as Pakistan. Consequently, the objective of this study was to gain better understanding and practice regarding parents vaccinating their children against COVID-19 in Pakistan. A cross-sectional study was conducted to measure parents’ attitudes towards vaccinating their children. In total, 451 parents participated in the study, giving a response rate of 70.4%; 67.4% were female, 43.2% belonged to the 40–49 years age group, and 47.7% had three children, with 73% of parents fully immunized against COVID-19. We found that 84.7% of parents did not consider COVID-19 to be a very serious issue, and 53.9% considered that their children were not at high risk of COVID-19. Overall, only a quarter of the study participants had currently vaccinated their children and 11.8% were willing to vaccinate their children in the near future. Parents who had a better knowledge of COVID-19, secondary or higher education, children who had chronic illness, and those parents whose children had been infected with COVID-19 were more likely to have their children vaccinated. The most common reasons for vaccine hesitancy were “my child is not at high risk of COVID-19” (61%) and “I am afraid to put/inject a foreign object inside my child’s body” (52.2%). Overall, vaccine acceptance was low among the parents of the children. Those parents with higher education, chronic illnesses, greater knowledge of COVID-19 and its vaccines, and those whose children had been infected with COVID-19 were significantly (p < 0.001) inclined towards vaccinating their children. Effective campaigns as well as awareness sessions are needed to address misinformation and reduce vaccine hesitancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2378
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Pakistan
  • acceptance
  • children
  • parents
  • vaccine hesitancy
  • vaccines

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