Publication Date



Paediatrics Child Health


OBJECTIVES: Beginning early in the pandemic, there was a worldwide effort to develop effective vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Before and after the approval and implementation of vaccines, there were concerns about their need as well as their safety and rapid development. We explored child demographic characteristics and parental concerns to identify factors associated with the decision to vaccinate.

METHODS: A cohort of 1035 children from Calgary was assembled in 2020 to participate in 5 visits every 6 months for survey completion and blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Visits 1 to 2 occurred before approval of vaccines for children; Visits 3 to 5 occurred after vaccine approval for different age groups. We described vaccine concerns and utilized logistic regression to examine factors associated with the decision to vaccinate in children ≥5 years of age.

RESULTS: Children ≥12 years of age, of non-white or non-black ethnicity, and who had received previous influenza vaccines had higher odds of being vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Children with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection had lower odds of being vaccinated. The most common concerns in early 2021 were about vaccine safety. By summer 2022, the most common concern was a belief that vaccines were not necessary. Through the study 88% of children were vaccinated.

CONCLUSIONS: Age, ethnicity, previous infections, and vaccine attitudes were associated with parental decision to vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2. For children who remained unvaccinated, parents continued to have safety concerns and questioned the necessity of the vaccine. Complacency about the need for vaccination may be more challenging to address and overcome than concerns about safety alone.


COVID-19, Pediatrics, Vaccine concerns, Vaccine confidence, Vaccine uptake



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.