William Towner, MD, speaks to COVID vaccine hesitancy for children 5 and under

William Towner, MD

COVID-19 vaccines became available to children 5 and under in the United States starting last week. But many parents are adopting a wait-and-see attitude about the vaccines, which come in either 2 or 3 doses depending on the manufacturer.

William Towner, MD, regional director for clinical trials for the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Southern California, was quoted in the New York Times and USA Today, saying that for some parents the convenience of fewer doses or whether the vaccines can be given with other immunizations may be deciding factors.

“I’ll be honest, that may be a little difficult for some parents to do 3 doses as opposed to 2,” Dr. Towner said in the Times. “If they have a choice, and if both are available, that may sway some parents to the Moderna.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administrative recently expanded the emergency use authorizations for Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years. Pfizer’s vaccine, which is also available to children up to 17 years, is administered in 3 doses while Moderna’s is only 2.

In the USA Today article, polling data showed that only 18% of parents would take their children to get the vaccine while 27% say they would not. Another 38% say they’ll wait. Dr. Towner, who is also an internal medicine physician with Southern California Permanente Medical Group, said receiving the vaccine with other already recommended vaccines for children may convince more parents to protect their children against COVID. He said studies are currently underway to see if the COVID vaccine can be co-administered.

NOTE: Read the full articles in the New York Times and USA Today.

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