D66 Member of Parliament Jan Paternotte wants parents to get clarity about corona vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years. But only 3 in 10 parents of children in primary school are open to this, according to research by EenVandaag.

European approval of the Pfizer vaccine is expected on Thursday, Paternotte says. “If it is safe and effective, give parents the freedom to choose the vaccine. Because even though children have a small chance of becoming seriously ill from corona, it is and remains a bad virus.”

‘Education can then continue’

“The virus is going around like crazy in primary schools,” says Paternotte. “As a result, classes or entire schools are continuously at home. That is much less in secondary schools, also because many students are vaccinated there.”

Less corona in primary schools would therefore also have an extra advantage: education can continue. And that is important and good for children.”

Listen here Jan Paternotte of D66 and political commentator Joost Vullings back in EenVandaag on NPO Radio 1

little enthusiasm

With more than 20,000 corona infections among children between the ages of 5 and 15, the discussion about vaccinating the youngest is also in full swing in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, anyone from the age of 12 can be vaccinated against corona, a shot is not yet possible for younger children. In some other countries, such as Austria, Israel and the United States, this is already possible.

While the number of infections among young children has been rising in recent weeks, parents’ enthusiasm for having their young children vaccinated remains low. Only three in ten are currently planning to have their offspring pricked. This is apparent from a survey by EenVandaag among almost 1800 parents of primary school-aged children.

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Most parents don’t want a shot for their child

Research among parents with one or more children of primary school age shows that the largest group, 42 percent, say they certainly do not even have their child vaccinated. Another 12 percent probably wouldn’t.

These parents would rather have their children contract corona than receive the vaccine. They are convinced that it is good for young children to build up resistance to the disease in a natural way.

Effects

In addition, many parents say the vaccine was developed quickly and for adults. “My child is not at risk from corona. But he is at risk of side effects if he gets the vaccine. Vaccinating healthy children is not the best for them,” someone expresses the opinion of many parents.

Pediatricians, including Karoly Illy, president of the Dutch Pediatric Association, agree with these parents. In a letter they wrote today that vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 should be a ‘last resort’ because children themselves have no personal benefit from a vaccination. They do not get very sick from corona and, according to the doctors, should not ‘pay for the mess we have made of it as adults’.

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Minority would vaccinate children

Three in ten parents (31 percent) would probably or certainly have their child vaccinated. They rely on science and see the vaccine, if it were offered in the Netherlands, as part of the National Immunization Programme. Preventing the spread of the virus is the most important reason for them to have their child vaccinated.

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15 percent of parents are still unsure about vaccinating their children. They would like more information about possible side effects and the effect of the vaccine in children or indicate that their children can participate in the decision-making process.

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About the research

The survey was held on November 22 and 23, 2021. 30,178 members of the EenVandaag Opinion Panel took part in the survey, including 1,779 parents with a child at primary school. After weighting, the study is representative for six variables, namely: age, gender, education, marital status, distribution across the country and political preference measured after the 2021 elections to the House of Representatives. The Opinion Panel consists of 70,000 members.

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