Two-thirds of families want Covid vaccine for their child

Thursday 8 April 2021

Tags: Covid-19, vaccine

Our Covid-19 vaccination survey shows that almost 70% of parents want their disabled children (under 16) to have a vaccine when it has been through trials and is licensed for use by children. And 10% would like it off-licence right now, but only 3 in 200 have been successful in getting the jab for their child so far.

Over 3,000 families who have high-risk, shielding or disabled children responded to our survey about access to the Covid vaccine.

Amanda Batten, Contact’s Chief Executive, said: “Our survey shows that many families see their child’s access to a vaccine as their only route out of lockdown. Families are exhausted and concerned about their child’s development after being out of school for so long. But they still have grave concerns about their child’s safety, so despite shielding ending  on 1 April we know many will stay indoors.

“We have written to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation with our findings, asking for clarity on plans to roll out a vaccine for children and how those at highest risk will be prioritised once it’s licensed. Families are desperate for information.”

Read our letter to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) asking them to prioritise clinically extremely vulnerable children for Covid-19 vaccines when they are licensed for use in children.

Clarity needed over use of unlicenced vaccine for children

Contact is also calling for clearer guidance about unlicensed or off-label use of the vaccine. The guidance says that in some exceptional circumstances the Covid vaccine may be used off-label or unlicensed for children aged 12-15. But our survey shows there is confusion leading to an inconsistent approach over who is getting it.

Sara Meredith, whose 6-year-old son Daniel has complex medical needs and is registered blind, said: “We’ve been shielding for a year and we feel like the forgotten vulnerable. I haven’t hugged my daughters for a year as we are shielding from them too. We’ve had no other carers in so I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. We want to know what the plan is for Daniel and children like him.”

Kelly Hughes, whose 15-year-old daughter Sophie has Mitochondrial disorder, said: “We have been given the green light for an off-label Covid vaccine for Sophie and I can’t tell you what a relief it is. We’ve been shielding for over a year, and our younger daughter has been home learning throughout to protect Sophie. It has had a huge impact on all our lives. The unlicensed use of the vaccine gives us hope of being able to come out of shielding safely.”

Other findings from our Covid-19 vaccine survey show that:

  • Only 58% of disabled young people aged over 16 have been offered a vaccine despite the majority being part of priority group 4 or 6.
  • 79%of disabled young people (aged over 16) will have the vaccine when offered it, 18% are not sure, most due to being scared of needles or worried about impact on condition, but only 3% said they wouldn’t have the vaccine when offered.
  • 11% of siblings aged over 16 and with a disabled brother or sister have received a vaccine; and
  • Less than half (45.5%) of married or co-habiting parent carers have both been offered the vaccine.

Read the full survey findings

Amanda Batten added: “While we wait for vaccine approval for children it is essential that all family members in households with disabled children are vaccinated as soon as possible, not just the ‘main’ carer so they are given maximum protection.”

Sign our petition

Sign our petition calling for information on a vaccine for extremely vulnerable children.

Do you have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine?

Take a look at our FAQs on vaccines which also includes information about off-label use of the vaccine