Summary: Vaccine hesitance waned over time, and the majority of caregivers and dependents with ASD received the COVID-19 vaccine following FDA approval. However, overall vaccine hesitancy influenced COVID-19 vaccine uptake in a minority of caregivers and dependents with ASD. Recent findings reveal that those on the autism spectrum are at greater risk of hospitalization following COVID-19 infection, and historically, a significant portion of parents of children with ASD are more likely to delay or decline any childhood vaccines.
Source: Pediatric Academic Societies
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 autism 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.
“We 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.”
Dr. Law added: “Early on, 60% of parents were hesitant about their child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Ten months later, it was reassuring to see that the majority of parents in our study made the decision for their child with autism to get vaccinated.”
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