COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Source:

Children and COVID-19 vaccination trends. https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-vaccination-trends/. Published Dec. 10, 2021. Accessed Dec. 10, 2021.

Disclosures: Bernstein and Maldonado have no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all authors' relevant financial disclosures.
December 14, 2021
3 min read
Save

Pace of pediatric COVID-19 vaccination in US has been slow

Source:

Children and COVID-19 vaccination trends. https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-vaccination-trends/. Published Dec. 10, 2021. Accessed Dec. 10, 2021.

Disclosures: Bernstein and Maldonado have no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all authors' relevant financial disclosures.
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Less than 20% of eligible children in the United States have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and progress has slowed in the last 2 weeks, according to the AAP.

CDC data posted online Friday by the AAP showed that among children aged 5 to 11 years in 16 states, 4.9 million (18%) had received a first dose of vaccine as of Dec. 8. Around 700,000 children received their first shot in the week ending Dec. 8, down from 1.6 million 2 weeks earlier.

AAP511Data_OG5034
Pediatric COVID-19 vaccination has slowed in recent weeks. Source: AAP.

Vaccination rates also vary widely across the states, from 4% to 47% receiving their first dose.

The decline is “disappointing” but expected, said Henry H. Bernstein, DO, a professor of pediatrics at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and pediatrician at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

“When we think about vaccine hesitancy, we know there are some people that want to be at the front of the line, who are anxious to get the vaccine as soon as their kids are eligible,” Bernstein told Healio. “At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a group that will refuse no matter what, but most are in between. They have questions, want more answers, more discussion, want to talk about the vaccine data with a trusted figure to help make the right decision for their kids.”

The pediatric version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the FDA on Oct. 29. The CDC endorsed its use on Nov. 2, and a federal effort to vaccinate nearly 30 million U.S. kids was not fully operation for around a week after that.

“It’s disappointing the rate has dropped so precipitously,” Bernstein said, “but I'd hope it plateaus and then goes up as more and more people get their questions answered and realize how important it is for children to be vaccinated.”

According to survey results published recently in JAMA Pediatrics, a parent’s willingness to vaccinate their children is largely connected to their own feelings about the vaccine.

The survey of more than 1,100 parents found that, compared with vaccine-hesitant parents, those who were either already vaccinated or willing to be vaccinated were more likely to have already vaccinated their eligible children or intended to immediately vaccinate them when they were eligible (64.9% vs. 8.3% for children aged 2 to 4 years; 77.6% vs. 12.1% for those aged 5 to 11 years; 81.3% vs. 13.9% for those aged 12 to 15 years; and 86.4% vs. 12.7% for those aged 16 to 17 years).

“The most common reason for hesitancy was concern about vaccine-related long-term adverse effects in children,” the authors wrote.

In comparison to the pediatric numbers, approximately 51% of children aged 12 to 17 years in the U.S. — 12.8 million in all — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the AAP. Another 15.2 million (61%) in this age group have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Dec. 9, nearly 7.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported in children, according to the AAP — 17.1% of all U.S. cases.

Last week, the FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 16 and 17 years, a move the AAP said it supported in a statement to Healio.

“We continue to recommend that all children and teens are vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 infection and welcome the added protection that the booster shot provides for teens ages 16 and 17,” Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, said in the statement. “We are especially concerned about the emergence of new variants such as omicron and continued circulation of the delta variant that impact our children, directly and indirectly. The vaccine is safe, effective and the best way to keep children and teens healthy and in school.”

Reference:

AAP. Children and COVID-19: State-level data report. https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/. Published Dec. 10, 2021. Accessed Dec. 13, 2021.

Rane MS, et al. JAMA Pediatr 2021;doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.5153.