STATEN ISLAND, NY – While the majority of parents in New York have said they are likely to have their children vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19), Staten Island was among three counties that have the number of vaccinations the lower and the lower the likelihood of not being vaccinated people would get the vaccine in the future, according to the results of a recent survey.
A survey by the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH), conducted by the New York Vaccine Literacy Campaign, collected data on the acceptance of the coronavirus vaccine in the lower nine counties of New York State. Parents of children 18 and under made up 39% of 1,000 respondents in September 2021 in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Nassau, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.
The data shows that many New York City parents have either had their children vaccinated or were planning to do so.
“Parental support of the vaccine for children will prove to be a giant leap in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of CUNY School of Public Health and lead author of investigation. “We must protect every precious child. With each family member immune, the risk of exposure to the virus and its variants is dramatically reduced, which is especially encouraging as we look forward to family reunions around the next vacation. ”
Thirty-two percent of survey respondents had a child between the ages of 12 and 18. Of these, 51% had either had their child vaccinated with at least one dose or were very likely to have their child vaccinated. 13% more were fairly likely to have their child immunized.
Among the 27% of respondents with a child under the age of 12, 56% said they were very or somewhat likely to get him or her vaccinated.
ACCEPTANCE OF VACCINES AMONG ADULTS
The survey tracked vaccine acceptance in New York City areas among adults of all ages – 68% of all respondents received a dose of the vaccine themselves. Conversely, 32% had not yet received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – although nearly half of those people (48%) said they were very or somewhat likely to receive vaccine in the future.
Manhattan had the highest vaccination rate with 79% of participants already vaccinated with one dose. It is followed by the counties of Nassau (74%), Queens (74%) and Westchester (73%), according to the data.
Rockland, Suffolk, and Staten Island had the lowest vaccination rates and the lowest likelihood that unvaccinated respondents would receive the vaccine in the future. Of those who are not vaccinated in these three counties, 36% to 58% said they were not very likely or not at all likely to get the vaccine, the data showed.
The investigation investigated why people might not have received the vaccine.
Some expressed feelings of fear, the safety of the vaccine, side effects or the vaccine in general, or distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine development process, clinical trials, or its effectiveness. According to the research, many participants indicated that they did not think it was necessary to get the vaccine – many claiming that they had already been infected with COVID-19.
Beyond these feelings, there were other regulatory, logistical and childcare hurdles. Of the 25% of people reporting barriers, 35% said lack of care for children or dependents was their biggest barrier to getting vaccinated, 19% didn’t know where to get the shot, and 13% didn’t know how to make an appointment, the investigation revealed.
VACCINATIONS IN NEW YORK
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this month that the city’s public schools serving students aged 5 to 11, which include elementary and middle schools, would host immunization clinics from November 8 to 15. Vaccines were available for approximately 400,000 eligible public school students in the age range in 1,070 school sites.
De Blasio said as of Monday 22,500 doses of the vaccine have been given to children aged 5 to 11 in schools.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is given as a series of two doses, three weeks apart. However, this is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for people 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms), according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On Monday, dozens of parents and other residents rallied on Staten Island against the initiative while expressing fears that students would be the next to face a vaccination warrant. Parent Danielle Geandomenico said the city has already enforced masks and random COVID-19 testing in schools – and the city may attempt to force the vaccine on students afterwards.
“Forcing someone to get vaccinated is an abomination,” she said. “… This is a medical choice that should be up to each person without any pressure or force from other entities. Yet here we are. They will try to impose it on our children, just as the flu shot is compulsory for schools. When that happens, I’ll be gone.
If the vaccination mandate for students goes into effect, Geandomenico said she would temporarily remove her children from school to homeschool them, and later seek a learning module. She said she predicted many parents in New York City would do the same.
According to the city’s Department of Education (DOE), the coronavirus vaccine is not mandatory for New York public school students at this time, but is highly recommended to keep school communities safe. De Blasio said earlier this month that he would not require vaccinations for students to attend schools in the city. Previously, he had said he did not want to punish children for a decision their parents made for them.
However, future mayor Eric Adams has said he will require students to be vaccinated once FDA clearance is complete and the vaccine is no longer subject to emergency use clearance.
“These are tough calls,” Adams told Advance / SILive.com of setting up vaccination mandates, but noted that the vaccination requirements for students were not new to our society.
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