A new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) reveals “many parents” are willing to accept “less rigorous testing and expedited approval” of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The international study, recently published in Clinical Therapeutics, surveyed more than 2,500 families from Canada, Israel, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United States who visited 17 different emergency departments between the end of March to the end of June.
According to the study, when respondents were asked if they were willing to accept less rigorous testing and faster approval of a coronavirus vaccine, nearly half (43%) of parents surveyed globally said they were willing.
“While the safety of vaccines given to children is paramount, our study indicates that parents are eager to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 and many are supportive of expedited vaccine research development and regulatory approval,” said Dr. Ran Goldman, the study’s lead author and professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of pediatrics.
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The research team, composed of scientists from Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan, found that parents were more willing to accept less rigorous testing if they had children who were up-to-date on their vaccinations, and if they plan to immunize their children when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
Parents were also more willing to accept less rigorous testing if they were worried that they had COVID-19 at the time they completed the survey.
Overall, the study found that more than half (52%) of fathers were likely to suggest modifying the approval standards, while a greater proportion of mothers were in support of continuing the current vaccine development and regulatory process.
The survey also revealed that families reporting a loss of income during the pandemic were not in favour of modifying regulations for coronavirus vaccine approval.
“Understanding parents’ attitudes to an expedited COVID-19 vaccine is imperative in helping inform public health strategy and ultimately improve vaccine acceptance,” said Goldman.
Since January, more than 180 different coronavirus vaccine candidates have been developed, according to the study’s authors. “Prior to regulatory approval, novel vaccine candidates need to follow a well-defined scientific process to ensure effectiveness and safety.”
However, “during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have gained fast-track status.”