By: Adam Torkildson
Lehi Free Press
The newest Hinckley Institute of Politics survey shows that in Utah, parents of children under 18 are divided on whether or not to vaccinate them against COVID-19.
In addition, Utahns are split about whether immunizations against the virus should be added to the list of vaccines necessary to attend school in the state, which already includes chickenpox, polio, hepatitis, measles, mumps and rubella.
Now Utah is dealing with the omicron variant, which is thought to be significantly more infectious than the delta variant which has been causing a steady rise in cases in the state.
COVID-19 booster doses for 16 and 17-year-olds had been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.
Since May, 12- to 15-year-olds and youngsters 5 to 11 have been allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine has been offered to those 16 and older for over a year.
Children aged 5 to 11 are receiving the first of their two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Utah. This age group has a vaccination rate of 22 percent. Just over 57 percent of Utahns between the ages of 12 and 18 have received their second dose of the flu vaccine, compared to almost 55 percent of Utahns over 18.
One of the top pediatric infectious disease specialists in Salt Lake City, Dr. Andrew Pavia, tells the Salt Lake Tribune that Utah has done an excellent job at vaccinating children. “Utah has done quite a terrific job,” he says.
Parents in Utah are “very passionate about vaccinating their children,” Pavia said, adding that the state is ahead of national averages for COVID-19 immunizations for children, but falls behind when it comes to adults.
The doctor speculated that “parents would go to great lengths to safeguard their children.”
There were 229 new instances of COVID-19 among Utah’s youth last Friday, accounting for a total of 1,330 new cases. Two teenagers have died after contracting the virus, which has infected more than 700 youngsters in Utah under the age of 14.
Most parents with children under 18 indicated they had either vaccinated their children or would as soon as they were old enough to do so, according to the survey. Nearly a quarter of those polled indicated they are unsure or are willing to wait to see how immunizations go.
Most parents with children younger than 18 have not decided whether or not to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. 53 percent of Utahns questioned have no children under the age of 18.
45 percent of Utahns favor making COVID-19 immunizations obligatory for public school attendance, while 49 percent oppose it.
Dan Jones & Associates conducted this survey of 812 registered Utah voters from Nov. 18-30.