Personal Risk or Societal Benefit? Investigating Adults’ Support for COVID-19 Childhood Vaccination


Chiara Chiavenna, Laura P. Leone, Alessia Melagaro, Tiziano Rotesi, Scott E. Bokemper, Elliott E. Paintsil, Amyn A. Malik, Gregory A. Huber, Saad B. Omer, Maria Cucciniello, and Paolo Pin

Full citation: 
Chiavenna, C., Leone, L.P., Melegaro, A., Rotesi, T., Bokemper, S.E., Paintsil, E.E., Malik, A.A., Huber, G.A., Omer, S.B., Cucciniello, M., Pin, P. Investigating Adults’ Support for COVID-19 Childhood Vaccination. Vaccine, Available online 9 May 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.05.017.
Parental hesitancy poses a serious threat to the success of the COVID-19 childhood vaccination campaign. We investigate whether adults' opinions on childhood vaccination can be influenced via two survey experiments in Italy (n= 3,633 participants) and the UK (n= 3,314 participants). Respondents were randomly assigned to: a “risk treatment” that highlighted the potential risks of COVID-19 to a child, a “herd immunity treatment” that emphasized the community benefits of pediatric vaccination, or a control message. Participants’ probability of supporting COVID-19 childhood vaccination was then assessed on a 0-100 scale. We find that the “risk treatment” reduced the proportion of Italian parents strongly against vaccination by up to 29.6%, while increasing the proportion of neutral parents by up to 45.0%. The “herd immunity treatment”, instead, was only effective among non-parents, resulting in a lower proportion of individuals against pediatric vaccination and a higher proportion of individuals in favor (both shifted by around 20%).
Supplemental information: 
Location details: 
Italy and United Kingdom
Publication date: 
Publication type: 
Publication name: 
Area of study: