February 23, 2024

New Polling Reveals Employer Actions Could Help Boost Childhood Vaccinations

Stephen Massey
Managing Director, Health Action Alliance; Co-Founder, Meteorite

As schools reopen across the country, just 36% of eligible adolescents ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last week, more than 120,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for COVID-19, reflecting a surge in new cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Just 29% of working parents with household incomes under $90,000 say their 12-17 year-old has been vaccinated for COVID-19 compared to over half (54%) of working parents with higher incomes. 

Meanwhile, new polling from KFF suggests that employer actions could help close these gaps and drive vaccine uptake among eligible children:

  • Few working parents – particularly those with lower incomes – say their employer offers them paid time off to get their children vaccinated or care for them if they experience vaccine side effects. 
  • One-quarter of working parents of unvaccinated 12-17 year-olds say they would be more likely to get their child vaccinated if their employer offered them paid time off to do so.
  • Lower income parents are considerably more likely to say paid time off or on-site family vaccine clinics would convince them to get their children vaccinated.

“Employer efforts to encourage vaccination for those who want it should be expanded to support working parents who are considering vaccines for their eligible children,” said Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  

Across the country, employers and business associations are stepping up, announcing new policies to support working parents who want to vaccinate eligible children. 

Employers should consider these best practice policies to support working parents:

  • Provide paid time off for employees with children to attend vaccine appointments, care for children recovering from vaccine side effects, and catch up on well-child visits that may have been postponed during the pandemic.
  • Remove barriers associated with childhood vaccination by offering transportation, language support or internet access for scheduling appointments.
  • Connect families to free or discounted child care if they need support managing care for multiple children during vaccine appointments. 
  • Partner with your local public health department to host on-site or near-site workplace vaccination clinics for employees and their families.
  • Share facts about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 12 and older.

Together with AAP, we’ve developed a suite of employer tools and resources to help your business share vaccine facts and support working parents who want to vaccinate eligible children against COVID-19.  Already taking action?  Let us know!