San Diego Parents Slow to Vaccinate Children Under 5, County Data Shows

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It’s been a little more than a month since the COVID-19 vaccine became available to children younger than 5, and new data from San Diego County shows parents aren't rushing to give their kids the shot.

Only about 6% of eligible young children in San Diego have been immunized against COVID, according to the data, and a new poll confirms a lot of parents still remain hesitant. NBC 7's Amber Frias spent the afternoon at a children’s playground speaking with parents about the vaccine and their willingness to get it into the arms of their young children.

Only 2 of the 10 families she spoke with who had a child under the age of 5 had vaccinated them. Most parents told her they were waiting for more time to go by. On the other hand, those with vaccinated children said they couldn't wait any longer.

For the Federico family, the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 couldn’t have come soon enough.

"We kept asking our pediatrician, like, 'When is it going to be available? Let us know because we want to be one of the first,'" Kirsten and Sara Federico told Frias.

Jordan Robinson was never worried about being first.

"I think it's something that is really new, too new to introduce to my kids," she told Frias.

She has three kids younger than 5. None are vaccinated and neither is she or her husband. She doesn’t believe her kids need to be vaccinated at their age, but Doctor Eric Hogen disagrees.

"Although, you know, kids, we perceive them to have a milder case of COVID. When they get COVID, there is a small, small percentage of kids that actually do die from COVID, and also we have children that have Mis-C ... a disease of children, similar to Kawasaki Disease, which is a very serious illness," said Dr. Hogen, co-chair of pediatrics at Scripps Clinic Medical Group.

Hogen says he recommends the vaccine to all his patients, but even so, the possibility of more parents opting for the shots looks bleak. A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 43% of parents with kids under the age of 5 will not get their kids vaccinated.

“Definitely holding off for now," Robinson reiterated.

"I would say get it," Federico said.

While the divide continues, Hogen has one simple ask of parents.

"I would encourage parents to not, you know, look at Facebook, or online things, but actually, you know, talk to professionals who really care about children and want the best for them," he said.

Nationally, vaccination rates for children are even lower compared with those of adults.

The CDC says 77% of people 18 and older are fully vaccinated and 60% of those 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. Then, the number drops to 30% for kids in the 5 to 11 age group.

That Kaiser FamilyFoundation survey found less than 3% of kids younger than 5 have received a COVID shot in the month since it's been cleared.

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