News Global Initiatives SPI Press Release

Why are Israeli parents of 12-15-year-olds hesitant to vaccinate their children?

By Yaniv Shlomo, Senior Fellow; Oren Heller, Postdoctoral Research Associate; Daniel Yeshua, Program Manager; and Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Director

Download a PDF to read this text in Hebrew: מדוע הורים לבני 12 עד 15 מהססים לחסן את ילדיהם?

While most Israeli adults are vaccinated, 62% of parents are hesitant to vaccinate their 12-15-year-old children. The findings from a survey administered in June by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis indicate that even though most Jewish parents are vaccinated, they are less likely to want to vaccinate their children at the time of the survey.  Of vaccine-hesitant parents, 45% of parents have yet to decide if they want to vaccinate their children, while 17% have definitively decided they will not.

The study examined which Jewish parents made the decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate their child between the ages of 12 and 15 and found several trends.

  • Parents with higher academic degrees are more likely to vaccinate their children. For example, 31% of parents with some form of postsecondary education vaccinated or have an appointment to vaccinate their child as compared to 13% of parents with a high school diploma and 19% of parents with no high school diploma.
  • Parents who are well informed about the pandemic (received information 30 minutes daily) are four times more likely to vaccinate their children. Conversely, 81% of parents who did not vaccinate their children report a lack of reliable information about the pandemic, and more than one in three respondents believe the virus is either a government conspiracy (36%) or part of a pharmaceutical company conspiracy (39%).
  • Households with higher incomes were more likely to vaccinate their children. In low-income families, 8% of respondents reported vaccinating or planning to vaccinate their child as compared to 44% of respondents from high income households. The majority of parents (70%) are making the decision about their children’s health jointly.  

Because the survey was administered only a few weeks after the vaccine became available to children between the ages of 12 and 15, survey results could indicate parents are still taking time to understand the new opportunity. Indeed, 66% of respondents reported fear of long-term damage from the vaccine. These survey results indicate a need to educate parents about the vaccine from trusted sources.