Third of Kiwi parents hesitant over vaccine for children

A third of caregivers are still either not keen or unsure about their children aged 5 to 11 getting a Covid-19 vaccine, with just over a month before the rollout is planned to begin.

And the rate is even lower for Māori, with just 57 per cent either willing or likely to have their children under 12 vaccinated.

That's according to the latest Government-commissioned vaccine surveys by Horizon Research, which show major challenges lying ahead in the next step in combating Covid-19.

A third of caregivers are still either not keen or unsure about their children aged 5 to 11 getting a Covid-19 vaccine, with just over a month before the rollout is planned to begin.

And the rate is even lower for Māori, with just 57 per cent either willing or likely to have their children under 12 vaccinated.

That's according to the latest Government-commissioned vaccine surveys by Horizon Research, which show major challenges lying ahead in the next step in combating Covid-19.

A strong reaction by a child to the death of a loved one will require hugs and reassurance. Photo...
A strong reaction by a child to the death of a loved one will require hugs and reassurance. Photo: Getty Images

The new variant Omicron is also disproportionately impacting children currently.

With Covid-19 vaccination rates for the eligible population nearing 90 percent, district health boards are turning their focus to the next step.

The Southern District Health Board is gearing up for when the vaccinations become available for 5 to 11 year olds, and is hoping to get underway as soon as possible.

"We all know it's coming, its just a matter of MedSafe being comfortable with the data they have, and signing it off," SDHB Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme lead Karl Metzler said.

The next large vulnerable group are school age children, and it is hoped there will be a wide reaching vaccination roll out can happen over the summer holidays, he said.

"We're hoping to target some of those 5 to 11-year-olds during the holidays and avoid the back to school rush and chaos that goes with that," he said.

Karl Metzler said he hopes MedSafe can deliver good news in time for Christmas.

- NZ Herald/Darryl Baser

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