Vanderbilt study finds fewer Tennessee parents wear masks, say they won’t vaccinate children


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A study from Vanderbilt University released this week is highlighting how some Tennessean parents are approaching the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, finding that fewer than 6 in 10 Tennessee parents reported wearing masks consistently and that nearly half do not plan to vaccinate their children for COVID-19.

Parents responded to a poll from The Center for Child Health Policy, which hosts several Vanderbilt Child Health polls. The poll “aims to understand the concerns and experiences of parents nationally and in the state of Tennessee;” exploring parental concerns as a way to inform policymakers and the public of the challenges faced by children.

The most recent state poll explores the behaviors, attitudes, and challenges of parents and children in Tennessee regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest poll, “Masks, Vaccines, Trust” asked 1,066 parents their thoughts on the latest COVID-19 policies within the state. The poll’s report summary concluded that, “Although public health organizations and medical professionals were frequently cited as trustworthy sources of information, mistrust is common among Tennessee parents.”


According to the report, only 57% of the responding parents reported wearing a mask or face covering every time they were in stores, businesses, or outside the home in the past month. Overall, 57% of parents believe that masks protect themselves and most parents believe that wearing a mask is important for children (68%), easy (66%), and protects others (66%).

Flu Vaccine, COVID-19 Vaccine

The poll also found that 64% of parents reported that they were very likely or likely to vaccinate their child against influenza this season. Non-Hispanic White (66%) and Hispanic parents (65%) were more likely to plan to vaccinate their children against influenza than non-Hispanic Black parents (56%).

The parents were also asked how likely they would get the COVID-19 vaccine for their child if a safe and effective vaccine is developed and approved by the FDA within the next year; overall, only about half (53%) of parents reported that they were likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine for their child.

Lawmakers and state officials have reported an approved COVID-19 vaccine would arrive in the state within the month.

Trust in Shared Information

The poll also asked parents whom they trusted to provide accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines. For COVID-19 information, parents ranked the CDC (38%), Tennessee Department of Health (38%), research (37%), and their child’s health care provider (35%) as the most trusted, but no person or group exceeded 40%.

To view the full report of the poll, see the link below.


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