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Original article Parental concerns on COVID-19 vaccine safety and hesitancy in Korea: Implications for vaccine communication
Hye-Kyung Cho1orcid , Hyunju Lee2,3orcid , Young June Choe4orcid , Shinkyeong Kim5orcid , Sujin Seo5orcid , Jiwon Moon5orcid , Eun Hwa Choi3orcid , Geun-Yong Kwon6orcid , Jee Yeon Shin6orcid , Sang-Yoon Choi6orcid , Mi Jin Jeong6orcid , Myoungsoon You5orcid
Epidemiol Health 2022;e2023004
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023004 [Accepted]
Published online: December 13, 2022
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1Department of Pediatrics, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Seoul, Korea
2Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
3Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Anam Hospital, Seoul, Korea
5Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
6Division of Immunization, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Cheongju, Korea
Corresponding author:  Myoungsoon You,
Email: msyou@snu.ac.kr
Received: 22 August 2022   • Revised: 24 November 2022   • Accepted: 13 December 2022

Objectives
Vaccination is one of the most important strategies to contain the spread of COVID-19. As vaccination in children is dependent on parents, it is important to understand parents’ awareness and attitudes toward vaccines in order to devise strategies to raise vaccination rates in children.
Methods
A web-based nationwide survey was conducted among Korean parents of 7–18- year-old children in August 2021 to estimate parents’ intention to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 and identify key factors affecting parental acceptance and hesitancy using regression analysis.
Results
Approximately 56.4% (575/1,019) were willing to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Contributing factors to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy were mothers (aOR 0.36, 95% CI 0.25–0.52), parents with lower education (aOR 0.83, 95% CI 0.70–0.97), hesitancy to other childhood vaccines (aOR 0.78, 95% CI 0.64–0.96), and refusal to vaccinate themselves (aOR 0.08, 95% CI 0.02–0.20). Children of older age (aOR 1.2, 95% CI 1.13–1.28), trust to child’s doctor (aOR 1.19, 95% CI 1.07–1.32),parents who showed positive perception about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 (aOR 2.6, 95% CI 1.9–3.57), and those who reported low risk of COVID-19 vaccine (aOR 1.68, 95% CI 1.27–2.24) were associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. The most common cause of hesitancy was a concern about experiencing adverse reactions.
Conclusions
Providing parents with accurate and reliable information on vaccine effectiveness and safety is important to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in children. Differential or targeted approaches to parents according to gender, age and age of children are necessary for effective communication on the vaccination in children.


Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health