Over 25 Percent of American Parents Lied About Child’s COVID-19 Status

Over 25 Percent of American Parents Lied About Child’s COVID-19 Status
Nora Burlingame, 3, sits on the lap of her mother, Dina Burlingame, and gets a fist bump from nurse Luann Majeed after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at UW Medical Center-Roosevelt in Seattle, Wash., on June 21, 2022. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

A quarter of parents lied about whether their children were following COVID-19 public health measures (PHM), including misrepresenting vaccination status and falsifying the age of their children, a recent study has found.

The study, conducted among 580 U.S. parents between Dec. 8 and 23, 2021, asked whether they had engaged in any of the seven types of misrepresentation and nonadherence behaviors regarding COVID-19 PHM for their children. The seven behaviors included not mentioning their child had COVID-19, falsely claiming a higher age for their child to avoid getting vaccinated, falsely claiming their child had been vaccinated, claiming that their child was unvaccinated when in fact they had taken COVID-19 shots, saying their child did not have to quarantine though they had to, avoiding their child from getting tested due to concerns that they might have COVID-19, and allowing their child to break COVID-19 quarantine rules.

“One hundred fifty participants (25.9 percent) reported misrepresentation and/or nonadherence in at least 1 of 7 behaviors; the most common behaviors were not telling someone who was with their child that they thought or knew their child had COVID-19 (63 of 263 [24.0 percent]) and allowing their child to break quarantine rules (67 of 318 [21.1 percent]),” according to a JAMA Network study published on March 6.
“The most common reason was wanting to exercise personal freedom as a parent. Additional reasons included wanting their child’s life to feel normal and not being able to miss work or other responsibilities to stay home.”

Lying About Children’s Vaccination, Natural Immunity Among Children

According to the study, 60 percent of the parents “deceived” other people about COVID-19 vaccination status of their child when they wanted their child to participate in activities that required vaccination.

While 43 percent of parents hid the fact that their child had COVID-19 to ensure they did not miss school, 35 percent did so to avoid missing work. Roughly 70 percent of the participants were women.

“Based on our study, it appears that many parents were concerned about their children missing school, and as a parent of three school-aged kids, I can understand that,” said Angela Fagerlin, senior author of the study and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Utah Health, according to a March 6 post.

“Yet, at the same time, they’re potentially exposing other kids to a serious illness. So, it’s tricky because what you might think is best for your child might not be best for other children in the classroom.”

Some experts have pointed out that there is no need for children to get vaccinated against COVID-19. According to an October 2021 post by Geert Vanden Bossche, head of the vaccine development office at the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne, young and healthy people have an “innate immunity” that largely protects them against the infection. Mass vaccination might turn this demographic into “shedders of more infectious variants.”
“Children/ youngsters who get the disease mostly develop mild to moderate disease and as a result continue to contribute to herd immunity by developing broad and long-lived immunity.”

Vaccine Effectiveness, Harms

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines was found to turn negative among children, based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September last year.

Among children in the age group of five and 11, vaccine effectiveness peaked at 60 to 70 percent some weeks after the first dose. By week 18, effectiveness dropped to almost zero among previously uninfected children. For those who were previously infected, this happened by week 20.

After this point, effectiveness turned negative, meaning vaccinated children were found to be more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to their unvaccinated counterparts.

A September survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 55 percent of children between 6 months and two years had suffered from a “systemic reaction” after an initial dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.