Patch received nearly 630 Georgia respondents to our survey with 85 percent of them acknowledging that they were parents. Of those, 532 responded to whether they would vaccinate their 12- to 15-year-olds with nearly 48 percent saying they would, while about 40 percent saying they would not.

This came from a group of readers of whom more than 59 percent had been vaccinated and most were confident in the effectiveness (46.2 percent) and safety (41.5 percent) of the vaccine.

Though not a scientific poll, the survey reflects a broad representation of public opinion regarding the use of the vaccine for children.

The survey was open from May 12 through May 20 and respondents were also asked whether they would vaccinate their children under the age of 12 against the coronavirus. Of those who responded with children, 33.1 percent said they would not get the shot for their younger children. Nearly 29 percent said that they would, and another 22 percent were undecided.

In response to the question about when they would get the vaccine for their children, 34 percent wanted their children vaccinated “as soon as possible,” while 8.5 percent chose to “wait and see” how others responded.

To date, more than 3.9 million Georgians have received at least one dose of one of the approved versions of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. More than 3.1 million state residents are fully vaccinated — that is, they have gone 14 days or more with both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

Experts say children must get the shots if the country is to vaccinate the 70 percent to 85 percent of the population necessary to reach what’s called herd immunity.

The Food and Drug Administration declared the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15. The study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids given dummy shots. More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.

The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.

Of those parents who said they would vaccinate their 12- to 15-year-olds, the most prominent reasons respondents offered were to travel at 41.7 percent, to visit with their friends at 37.4 percent, and to return to face-to-face learning at 34.6 percent.

With 172 responses, survey takers expounded on their answers.

“My 13-year-old got the first shot this morning, as soon as Georgia opened appointments, we signed up and received the shot within 24 hours,” the responder said.

“I’ve been in clinical research for 20 years and trust this process wholeheartedly,” another responder wrote.

Other survey responders, however, were not convinced of the need to vaccinate youth.

“COVID-19 is not a threatening disease for my children,” one respondent wrote.

“The science and statistics do not support my putting an emergency use vaccine in my child,” another responder wrote. “They have (1) already had COVID — VERY mild, just as the science says — and (2) are not at high risk for severe disease. When their statistics are 99.8 percent chance of full recovery, there is zero way we will put a new vaccine in their developing bodies. And I am very much a pro-vaccine person.”