More than a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended COVID-19 vaccines for very young children, only a small percentage have actually received the vaccine, according to federal data.
Data published by the CDC on Aug. 8 show that about 755,730 children aged 6 months to 4 years have received at least one vaccine dose since June 18, when Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization for Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines were recommended by the CDC for the baby-toddler group. On its website, the CDC doesn’t indicate how many children aged 6 months to 4 years are fully vaccinated.
According to the American Hospital Association in mid-June, there are about 18 million children in that age group across the United States. That means that only around 4.1 percent of children in that age group have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose so far.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics show that roughly 5 percent of children in that age group have received at least one vaccine dose as of Aug. 8. About 900,000 young kids have received at least one vaccine dose so far, it estimated.
And the vaccination rate differs from state to state. In Arkansas, 3,378 young children, or about 1.8 percent, received the COVID-19 vaccine, whereas 11 percent of young children in Massachusetts got received the vaccine, according to data from the two respective states as cited by The Wall Street Journal.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in June that the vaccine hadn’t gone through enough testing and clinical trials to determine whether it’s actually effective in younger children. Florida became the only state to explicitly advise against young children getting the vaccine, and it didn’t preorder vaccines for the younger-than-5 age group.
In late July, a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) revealed that 43 percent of parents of the younger-than-5 group would “definitely not” have their children get the vaccine, 13 percent said they would get it “only if required,” 27 percent said they would “wait and see,” and 10 percent said they would “get them vaccinated right away.” Seven percent said their child is already vaccinated.
“When asked in their own words for the main reason why they will not vaccinate their eligible child under 5 … parents cite concerns about the newness of the vaccine and not enough testing or research, concerns over side effects, and worries over the overall safety of the vaccines,” the KFF said of its poll, which was released on July 26. “Additionally, about one in ten parents say they do not think their child needs the vaccine or say they are not worried about COVID-19.”
A majority of parents of young children, 55 percent, say that information from federal agencies about COVID-19 vaccines “is confusing.”
“Though most parents of unvaccinated young children say they have enough information about where their child can be vaccinated for COVID-19, about four in ten parents say they do not have enough information on where their child can get the vaccine,” according to the pollster.
CDC officials didn’t respond to a request for comment on the latest vaccination figures.