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Update on COVID-19 vaccination of 5-11 year olds in the United States




It’s been more than two months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Pfizers COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 in the United States. We previously assessed pediatric vaccination uptake, finding that after initial high demand, it had already slowed significantly. We also found a wide range of vaccination rates by state. Since then, Omicron has become the dominant variant in the United States and COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising again.

Here we provide an update on the vaccination status of 5-11 year olds, through January 18, 2022. It is based on analysis of national and state vaccination data obtained from the CDC Data Tracker (see Methods below). Overall we see that the number of first doses newly given to 5-11 year olds remains well below its initial peak and although there was a slight uptick for a period in December it has fallen again . There also remains a significant gap of 52 percentage points between the most vaccinated and least vaccinated states. Specific results include:

Nationally, more than a quarter (28.1%) of 5- to 11-year-olds had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of January 18, 2022. This represents just over 8 million of the approximately 28 million of children in this age group. in the USA. Considering Pfizer’s two-dose regimen, given three weeks apart, and the need for a two-week period thereafter to be considered as having completed the vaccine series, only 18.8% of children reached this point. Vaccination rates among 5-11 year olds peaked before Thanksgiving and then plummeted. Vaccination rates among 5-11 year olds, as measured by the first doses given daily, rose sharply in the two-week period after the recommendation was first made on November 2, peaking on November 14, at 264,000 (based on the 7-day moving average). It then fell sharply until the beginning of December. After rising slightly over the next two weeks, it fell again and fluctuated between 50,000 and 75,000 new doses administered per day, as a 7-day moving average, since the holiday season (Figures 1 and 2). Significant variation remains at the state level with a 52 percentage point difference between the highest and lowest ranked states in the proportion of children who received at least one dose. This difference is much larger than the range for adults (27 percentage points). The proportion of children who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine ranged from 63.1% in Vermont to just 11.2% in Mississippi (Table 1). The top ten states vaccinated more than a third of 5-11 year olds, with three states at more than 50%; the bottom ten states vaccinated less than 20%. The gap between the highest and lowest ranked states for fully vaccinated people is 47 percentage points and ranges from 52% in Vermont to 5.3% in Alabama. Some regional differences persist. Five of the top ten states, in proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, are in New England (Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut). Eight of the ten states with the lowest vaccination coverage among 5-11 year olds are in the South (South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi). Similar patterns are also seen among the share of fully vaccinated people.

More than two months after the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the vaccination rate for this group is quite low and there are significant variations across the country, with a gap of more than 50 percentage points between highest and highest. Lowest ranked states among those that received at least one dose. This likely reflects a complicated interplay between the efforts of state and county governments, schools, and pediatricians to vaccinate children, and the makeup of citizens themselves and their interest in vaccination. With the highly transmissible variant of Omicron spreading across the United States, the vaccine, which has been shown to be very safe for children, offers the most effective protection against serious illness and hospitalization. Additionally, while vaccination during the Omicron surge does not prevent all school disruptions, it helps to mitigate them. Identifying opportunities to reach parents and caregivers, many of whom have been reluctant to vaccinate their young children, with information about vaccination and providing multiple accessible pathways for pediatric vaccination, will continue to be important.

National data was used to calculate daily changes in the number of children aged 5-11 vaccinated as well as the seven-day rolling average. To calculate the number of children ages 5 to 11 who had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or were fully immunized by state, we calculated the difference between the number of those ages 5 and older with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. least one dose (or fully vaccinated) and the number of people aged 12 and over with one dose (or fully vaccinated). Population estimates for ages 5 to 11 by state were obtained from the American Community Survey. We included data from federal entities, territories, and associated jurisdictions in our national totals, but only the 50 states and DC in our state analysis. Data from Idaho was not available for this age group.




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