Parenthood, Politics, and COVID-19: Examining the Influence of Parent’s Partisanship on COVID-19 Vaccination Among Adolescents in the United States
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global issue of vaccine hesitancy has become a significant concern for the public health community. The United States has been able to facilitate an expansive COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the public, yet there are many Americans who are hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. To properly understand this, it is crucial to examine the factors that influence people’s decisions regarding vaccines. Existing research has shown that an individual’s partisanship impacts how they view social issues, including that related to healthcare. In recent years, American politics has become increasingly polarizing, further stoking partisanship among society. This study seeks to examine the influence that partisanship has on American parent’s decisions to vaccinate their adolescent for COVID-19. Additionally, the study aims to understand how partisanship among parents is reflective of the political messaging surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The researcher used social media advertising and Amazon Mechanical Turk to promote an anonymous online survey to American parents of adolescents between the ages of 12-17 years old. A quantitative data analysis of the survey responses revealed that the political affiliation of parents significantly changes the likelihood that they will be vaccinated and also have their adolescent vaccinated. Their partisanship also influenced the way parents perceived the risk of COVID-19 to their adolescent. The data suggests that partisan differences among parents in this sample were reflective of political ideology and political messages used by prominent political figures. These findings suggest that partisanship and the political system of the United States is influencing the perception that parents have about healthcare interventions which can have ramifications on the effectiveness of health interventions for children in the future.