Parental vaccination protects unvaccinated kids, study finds

Children under age 5 who aren’t yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. can get substantial protection from the coronavirus if one or both of their parents is vaccinated, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Science on January 27, 2022, was conducted by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and researchers from Harvard University, including Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and science director of the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.

The researchers found that kids who lived in a household with a single vaccinated parent had a 26% lower risk of catching COVID-19 at the start of 2021, and a somewhat decreased risk—20.8%—when the Delta variant was circulating. If both parents were vaccinated, the kids’ risk was significantly reduced—by 71.% at the start of 2021 and by 58.1% during Delta.

The study, which looked at roughly 582,000 unvaccinated children from 232,000 households in Israel, found that not only were vaccinated parents less likely to be infected themselves, they were also less likely to transmit infection to others in their households.

“Knowing that vaccination protects not only them but their household should encourage any parent who is uncertain to get vaccinated and, when appropriate, boosted,” said Lipsitch in a press release from the Clalit Research Institute.

Read the Clalit Research Institute press release: Parental vaccination against coronavirus offers substantial protection to children as well

Read a CNN article: A cocoon of vaccination provides ‘substantial’ protection for unvaccinated kids, studies find