Health workers across the United States began to give Covid-19 vaccinations to children 6 months to 5 years old on Tuesday, another milestone in the coronavirus pandemic that came 18 long months after adults first began to receive injections against the virus.
But the response from parents was notably muted, with little indication of the excitement and long lines that greeted earlier vaccine rollouts.
An April poll showed that less than a fifth of parents of children under 5 were eager to get access to the shot right away. Early adopters in this age group appeared to be outliers.
has also endorsed a second option for young children, a two-dose regimen from Moderna.
controversy in Florida, where the state declined to preorder vaccine doses for young children. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican with presidential ambitions, said last week, “We are affirmatively against the Covid vaccine for young kids.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden said that “elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and make it more difficult for parents.”
Florida has since allowed health care providers to order the shots, but in many places — including Florida and New York — the vaccines did not yet appear to be widely available. Some pediatricians’ offices reported that they had not yet received the shots or that they planned to deliver the vaccine mostly at regularly scheduled well visits.
Yet clamoring from families is limited. The reasons for parental vaccine hesitation are varied. Two years into the pandemic, many families have become resigned to living with the virus, and a majority of American children have already been infected, mostly experiencing mild symptoms.
While the vaccines remain highly effective at protecting against severe illness and death, they have become less effective at preventing infection as the virus has mutated, leading to disappointment and some cynicism from the public toward the injections. Some parents have encountered widespread misinformation about risks, while others are concerned about rare side effects, or simply do not want their children to be among the first to get a newly accessible vaccine.