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

Dec 14, 2021

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Source/Revelations

disclosures:
Bernstein and Maldonado have no relevant financial disclosures. See the study for all relevant financial disclosures from the authors.

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

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

Pediatric COVID-19 vaccination has been delayed in recent weeks. Source: AAP.

Vaccination rates also vary widely between 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 Zucker School of Medicine in Hofstra/Northwell and pediatrician at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

“When we think about vaccine hesitancy, we know that there are people who want to be at the front of the line, who would like to get the vaccine as soon as their children become eligible,” Bernstein told Healio. “At the other end of the spectrum, there is a group that refuses anyway, but most are in between. They have questions, want more answers, want more discussion, want to talk about the vaccine data with a trusted person to make the right decision for their children.”

The pediatric version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved by the FDA for emergency use on Oct. 29. The CDC approved its use on Nov. 2, and a federal effort to vaccinate nearly 30 million American children was not fully operational for about a year. week after.

“It’s disappointing that the rate has fallen so quickly,” Bernstein said, “but I hope it reaches a plateau and then rises as more and more people get their questions answered and realize how important it is for children to be vaccinated.”

According to research findings recently published in JAMA Pediatrics, parents’ willingness to vaccinate their children is largely related to their own feelings about the vaccine.

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

“The most common reason for hesitation was concerns about long-term vaccine-related side effects in children,” the authors wrote.

Compared to pediatric numbers, about 51% of children ages 12 to 17 in the US — 12.8 million in total — have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the AAP. An additional 15.2 million (61%) in this age group have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

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

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

“We continue to recommend that all children and teens be vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 infection and welcome the additional protection that the booster injection provides for teens ages 16 and 17,” Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, said in the statement. “We are particularly concerned about the emergence of new variants such as ommicron and the continuing spread of the delta variant that affects our children directly and indirectly. The vaccine is safe, effective and the best way to keep children and teens healthy and in school.”

Reference:

MONKEY. 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 December 10, 2021. Accessed December 13, 2021.

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

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