Study Examines COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake in Autism Community
A new study examines factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and uptake in the autism community. Findings from the study will be presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2022 Meeting, taking place April 21-25 in Denver.
Individuals with spectrum disorder are at increased risk of hospitalization from COVID-19. Vaccines reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection and severity of disease. Historically, parents of children with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to be vaccine hesitant, thus delaying or declining childhood vaccinations
The study found early COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy waned over time and a majority of caregivers and dependents received the vaccine following FDA approval. Firmly held vaccine-hesitant beliefs, not specific to COVID-19, influenced vaccine uptake in a minority of autism spectrum disorder caregivers.
Researchers conducted this study to better understand how baseline vaccine hesitancy in the autism community, which is higher than the general population, was impacting parent decision-making about COVID-19 vaccines,” said J. Kiely Law, MD, MPH, director of research operations at SPARK, a Simons Foundation autism research initiative.
This was especially important to understand since other studies were finding that children with developmental disabilities, like autism, were at increased risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19. Getting children vaccinated was critical to reducing this risk.
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