Students’ age and parental level of education influence COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy

authored by
Anna Zychlinsky Scharff, Mira Paulsen, Paula Schaefer, Fatma Tanisik, Rizky Indrameikha Sugianto, Nils Stanislawski, Holger Blume, Bernhard M.W. Schmidt, Stefanie Heiden, Meike Stiesch, Anette Melk

Widespread vaccination in pursuit of herd immunity has been recognized as the most promising approach to ending the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). The vaccination of children and adolescents has been extensively debated and the first COVID-19 vaccine is now approved in European countries for children aged > 12 years of age. Our study investigates vaccination hesitancy in a cohort of German secondary school students. We assessed 903 students between age 9 and 20 in the period between 17 May 2021 and 30 June 2021. 68.3% (n = 617) reported intention to undergo COVID-19 vaccination, while 7% (n = 62) did not want to receive the vaccine and 15% (n = 135) were not yet certain. Age and parental level of education influenced COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Children under the age of 16 as well as students whose parents had lower education levels showed significantly higher vaccine hesitancy. Conclusion: Identifying subsets with higher vaccination hesitancy is important for targeting public information campaigns in support of immunization.What is Known:• The willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination among adults in Europe is about 70%, but data for children and adolescents is lacking.• The lack of immunization in younger cohorts represents a significant barrier to achieving herd immunity, and also leaves children and adolescents vulnerable to acute and long-term morbidity from natural COVID-19 infections.What is New:• Intention-to-vaccinate among children and adolescents is high (~ 70%); conversely, vaccination hesitancy is low.• Age and parental level of education influenced COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among children and adolescents.

Institute of Microelectronic Systems
Institute of Innovation Research, Technology Management & Entrepreneurship
External Organisation(s)
Hannover Medical School (MHH)
European journal of pediatrics
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)