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.
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.
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.
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.
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