You are here

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

Publication date: 

27 Dec 2022


PLoS ONE 17(12): e0279285


Smith LE, Sherman SM, Sim J, Amlôt R, Cutts M, Dasch H, Sevdalis N and Rubin GJ

Publication type: 



Abstract 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.