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VCU poll shows majority of parents are willing to have their children vaccinated

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A majority of Virginia parents are willing to have their children vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a poll conducted by the Research Institute for Social Equity at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The poll results say 66 percent of parents with children age 12-17 and 63 percent of parents with children age 11 and under are likely to have their children vaccinated.

The survey also showed that parents willing to get their children vaccinated varied widely based on where they lived.

“Parents with children 12-17 in the Northwest (59%) and Western (84%) of the state were not likely to vaccinate their children. More than half of the parents of children 11 and under in the Northwest (58%) and the Western (53%) parts of the state were not likely to vaccinate their children and those,” a release said.

“When we speak of herd immunity, you have to determine what herd you’re speaking of. People who are living together, close together, you don’t have much of that in the northwestern and western parts of the state as you do in other areas, so there is a degree of reluctance,” former Governor L. Douglas Wilder said.

Over 90 percent of parents who said they were not likely to get vaccinated themselves were also unlikely to vaccinate their children.

The poll said race and ethnicity had no significant impact on the willingness of parents to vaccinate their children.

When it comes to sending children back to in-person learning this fall, 73 percent of Virginia parents said they were willing to send their kids.

The survey also showed that the majority of parents were more likely to send their kids back to school in person by fall if class sizes were limited and if teachers were regularly tested for COVID-19.

The university hopes state leaders use this data to get more of the public on board with a reopening plan more people can agree with.

“I’m positive that if we get the right messages out and that if people start believing that what is being told to them is something they can rely upon, we’ll have it. It will be something that can move us forward,” Wilder.

The poll found that minorities were two to three times less willing to send their children to in-person learning than whites.

“The willingness of a substantial majority of parents to have their children vaccinated, seemingly attests to the belief of the availability and efficacy of the vaccines however, the almost triple numbers of hesitancy in African Americans (32%), and Asians (34%), then whites (12%) to send their children back to in-person school reflects the historical skepticism,” said Wilder.

The statewide poll was conducted for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management by the Research Institute for Social Equity at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU.

For more information on the poll, click here.

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