COVID-19 vaccine rollout in kids stalls

Dec. 9, 2021

After an initial period of high demand, progress vaccinating children 5-11 years old has slowed significantly, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccinating this age group on November 2, one week later, on November 9, the rate had risen to 4%. On November 16, it was 9.8%.

“The increase in new doses administered began slowing leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and has continued since. In addition, like vaccination rates for adults, we find wide variation in coverage across the country,” the foundation said.

KFF’s analysis is based on data obtained from the CDC’s Data Tracker as of December 5, 2021.

To calculate the number of 5-11 year-olds who had received at least one vaccine dose by state, KFF calculated the difference between the number of children in that age range with at least one dose and the number of those aged 12 years or older with one dose for all states and Washington, DC. Data from Idaho were not available.

Other findings from the analysis included the following:

  • 16.7% of 5-11 year-olds, or 4.8 million, had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of December 5, 2021. There are approximately 28 million children in this age group. As of December 5, just 4.3% of these children were fully vaccinated.
  • Vaccination rates vary across the country. The percentage of children who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose ranged from 45.6% in Vermont to just 3.6% in West Virginia. Eight states have vaccinated a quarter or more of 5-11 year-olds; ten states have vaccinated fewer than 10%.
  • The four states with highest vaccination rates were Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. They have vaccinated at least 30% of children. Four states with the lowest vaccination rates — West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama — have vaccinated 6% or less.

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