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

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

It is more than two months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 years in the United States. We former assessed the introduction of pediatric vaccination and found that it had already decreased significantly after the first high demand. 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 rises again.

Here we provide an update on vaccination status for 5-11 year olds until 18 January 2022. It is based on analysis of vaccination data at national and state level obtained from CDC’s Data Tracker (see methods below). Overall, we find that the number of newly administered doses to 5-11-year-olds remains well below the early peak, and although there was a slight increase for a period in December, it has fallen again. There is also still a large difference – of 52 percentage points – between the most vaccinated and the least vaccinated states. Specific results include:

  • Nationwide, more than a quarter (28.1%) of 5-11 year olds had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose per day. January 18, 2022 This represents just over 8 million of the approximately 28 million children in this age group in the United States. Given the Pfizer regimen of two doses, administered at three-week intervals, and the need for a period of two weeks subsequently to be considered as having completed the vaccine series, only 18.8% of children have reached this point.
  • The vaccination rate among 5-11-year-olds reached its peak before Thanksgiving and then dropped sharply. The vaccination rate among 5-11-year-olds, measured at the first doses administered daily, rose sharply in the two-week period after the recommendation was first made on 2 November, peaking on 14 November at 264,000 (based on 7 -day rolling average). Then it fell steeply through early December. After a slight increase over the next two weeks, it dropped again and has hovered between 50,000 and 75,000 new doses administered per day, based on the 7-day rolling average, since the holiday period (Figures 1 and 2).
  • There is still significant variation at the state level with a difference of 52 percentage points between the upper and lower states in the proportion of children with 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 COVID-19 vaccine dose ranged from 63.1% in Vermont to only 11.2% in Mississippi (Table 1). The top ten states have vaccinated more than a third of 5-11-year-olds, with three states at more than 50%; the bottom ten states have vaccinated less than 20%. The spread between top and bottom states for the fully vaccinated is 47 percentage points, ranging from 52% in Vermont to 5.3% in Alabama.
  • Some regional differences continue. Five of the top ten states, by proportion of 5-11-year-olds with at least one vaccine dose, are in New England (Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut). Eight of the ten states with the lowest vaccine 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 proportion fully vaccinated.

More than two months after the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 years, the vaccination rate for this group is quite low and there is considerable variation across the country with a difference of more than 50 percentage points between the highest and lowest-ranking states among those who have received at least one dose. This probably reflects a complicated interplay between the efforts of state and county governments, schools and paediatricians to vaccinate children, and the composition of the citizens themselves and its interest in vaccination. With the highly transmissible Omicron variant rising across the United States, the vaccine has proven itself a lot safe for children, provides the most effective protection against serious illness and hospitalization. In addition, while vaccination during the Omicron increase may not prevent all school disorders, it does help alleviate them. Identify opportunities to reach parents and caregivers, many of whom have been reluctant to get their younger children vaccinated, with information on vaccination and benefit more, accessible, roads for pediatric vaccination will continue to be important.

National data were used to calculate daily changes in the number of vaccinated 5-11-year-olds as well as seven-day rolling averages. To calculate the number of 5-11-year-olds who had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose or who had been fully vaccinated by the state, we calculated the difference between the number of people aged 5+ with at least one dose (or fully vaccinated ) and the number of people aged 12+ with one dose (or fully vaccinated). Population estimates for 5-11-year-olds 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 DCs in our state analysis. Data from Idaho were not available for this age group.

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