Japanese Parents Back COVID-19 Vaccination for ChildrenFamily Health
In September 2021, the National Center for Child Health and Development conducted a survey assessing how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children. When asked their opinion about the vaccination, out of the 1,271 valid responses received from students aged from the first grade of elementary school through the third year of high school, 60% said they either “really want to” or “prefer to” have it.
A closer look showed that the total percentage of elementary school students in first to third grade who want to was 50%, while for those in high school, 50% “really want to” and 28% “prefer to”, indicating the higher the grade, the stronger the desire to have the vaccination.
The reasons children gave for wanting the vaccination revealed that they very much wanted to return to their everyday lives. One third year junior high student stated “I don’t want to be infected and cause trouble for the people around me,” and another first year high school student answered that “I think the sooner we reduce the number of people contracting COVID-19, the sooner it can be brought under control,” while a first year junior high student commented that “we’ll be able to start doing after-school activities and sports events again, and I want to go on school trips.” There also appeared to be peer pressure affecting the children, with one sixth grade elementary school student saying “I’m scared of being judged by society” and another first year junior high student stating “I don’t want to be bullied at school.”
On the other hand, among those who answered, “I don’t want to receive it”, a second year high school student stated that, ”I’m afraid of side effects“ and a second year junior high student said, “you can’t tell what the physical long-term effects will be.”
The survey also looked at what parents think about their children getting vaccinated. Of the 5,753 respondents with children aged from zero up to high school age, 78% said that they either “really want them to” or “prefer them to” be vaccinated.
Notably, 60% of parents of junior high school students and 68% of parents of high school students answered that they “really want them to” have the vaccination, with one parent of a third year high school student saying “I’m concerned about disadvantages with continuing education if unvaccinated.”
In Japan, the COVID-19 vaccination is available for free to children over the age of 12. On November 10, the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer applied to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare for approval to expand use of its vaccine to children aged 5 to 11. Vaccinations for this age group have already been approved in the United States.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)