We asked our readers if they would allow their child aged 5-11 to get the Covid vaccine.
And a huge 85.1% said ‘no’, with a further 3.3% saying they were ‘undecided’. The remaining 11.6% said ‘yes’ they would allow their child to be vaccinated for Covid.
The poll received a total of 1,137 votes and was held online on our website – although was not conducted scientifically so may not be representative of the wider public.
Of that total, 968 votes were cast for ‘no’, another 132 votes were ‘yes’ and a final 37 votes were for the ‘undecided’ option.
It was launched after we hit the streets of Dundee to gauge opinions on jab for kids and heard varying opinions on vaccines for younger children.
Kids in that age group already being jabbed
Everyone aged 12 and over and vulnerable children aged 5-11 are currently eligible for the Covid vaccination in Scotland.
And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish Government is ‘ready’ to vaccinate ALL children in the 5-11 category, if advised.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) ruled in December that the vaccine should be offered to under 12s with medical conditions or who live with people who are immunosuppressed.
But a decision to expand it to all children that age is yet to be announced.
In Cowdenbeath, Fife, opinion was divided among people we spoke to in the High Street.
Gary Young, 50, who has three grown-up sons aged 16 to 24, reckons under-12s should only get the jab if they are at high risk, as currently recommended by the JCVI.
It is a hard question, he said, but concluded: “For five to 11-year-olds, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m kind of against kids being on any kind of medication.
“If it’s going to save them, if they are maybe kids that are vulnerable, then I would say yes, but overall I don’t think so.”
One mum, who didn’t want to be named, told us: “I’m split, I’m not quite sure about it. I have a nine-year-old daughter and it’s something I have been thinking about.
“Her dad is against it, but it’s not a decision we have to make yet.”
‘It’s absolutely a parental decision’
Mary O’ Connor, mum of four and Dundee representative on the National Parent Forum of Scotland, believes it should up to parents and carers to decide.
She said: “It’s up to every parent to make their own decision on it and as long as they have all the facts to make that decision, that’s fine.
“It’s absolutely a parental decision and they would make it based on their family’s circumstances.
“The National Parent Forum of Scotland will be pushing for clear communication on (the issue) so parents and cares have all the information they need to make informed decisions.”
‘Facts needed to persuade parents’
Professor Stephen Reicher – a government advisor on behavioural science – says providing the facts is key to persuading parents to accept the Covid vaccine.
He says parents unwilling to risk their children’s health would likely be in favour of it, if they were properly informed.
Psychology Prof Reicher, of St Andrews University, said: “Openness is the best policy, because overall the evidence is pretty clear on vaccines.
“As long as we explain to people ‘actually you’re safeguarding your child by the vaccine’ people are more likely to do it rather than say I’ve got the choice not to do it.”