Home / Health / Articles / One in seven children ages 5 to 11 have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the age group on November 2. Since then, 4.2 million children ages 5 to 11 have received at least their first COVID-19 shot — about 15% of the age group.

In November, the newly eligible group accounted for 36% of all people starting vaccination.

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Approval for the 5-11 age group came six months after the approval for the 12-17 age group in May. The differences in vaccine eligibility for younger versus older children created unique challenges for schools and families.

While 61% of the older group at least started vaccination against COVID-19 through the end of November, younger children weren’t eligible as schools reopened.

Since late August, Americans ages 5 through 17 have had the highest COVID-19 case rates among all other age groups.

In mid-November, there were 172 weekly cases per 100,000 people, regardless of age. The case rate for those 5 to 11 was 199 per 100,000 people, higher than any age group. At the time, those children weren’t eligible for vaccination.

School-age children have had the highest case rates in Fall 2021.

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Geographically, vaccination in the youngest eligible age group mirrors existing vaccination trends. In four New England states — Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island — more than 25% of children ages 5 to 11 got at least one shot. Vermont had the highest vaccination rate in the age group, with 41%. Those states rank high in overall vaccination rates, with more than 80% of the total population of each state at least starting vaccination.

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West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama each had a vaccination rate of 4% or less among ages 5 to 11, the lowest in the US. (Vaccination data from Idaho for those ages 5 to 11 is unavailable.) Those states also have some of the lowest vaccination rates overall.

For more about vaccination data visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States, Jurisdiction
COVID-19 Weekly Cases and Deaths per 100,000 Population by Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Sex