TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For parents, the decision to vaccinate their children against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is complex, according to a study published online Feb. 21 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Jannah Wigle, Ph.D., from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues evaluated reasons why parents chose to vaccinate or not vaccinate their children against SARS-CoV-2. The analysis included data from telephone or video call interviews conducted from February to April 2022 with 20 parents.

The researchers found that parental attitudes toward SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations for their children represented a complex continuum of concern. Four identified cross-cutting themes included the newness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and the evidence supporting their use; the perceived politicization of guidance for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination; the social pressure surrounding SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations; and the weighing of individual versus collective benefits of vaccination. Parents reported it was challenging to make a decision about vaccinating their child and expressed difficulty sourcing and evaluating evidence, determining the trustworthiness of guidance, and balancing their own conceptions of health care decisions with societal expectations and political messaging.

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"Future guidance should highlight both individual and collective benefits of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for children; however, health care providers should prioritize individualized discussions with parents to help interpret evidence, consider their understanding of risks and benefits, and provide tailored recommendations," a coauthor said in a statement.

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