Kids Aged 5-11 Are Getting Vaccinated At Faster Rates Than Adults

by Madison Vanderberg
Marko Geber/Getty

2.6 million younger kids have received their first show of the COVID-19 vaccine

While many adults in the U.S. are still stubbornly refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, kids ages 5-11 are signing up in record numbers. At a White House briefing on Wednesday, Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, said that since younger kids became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on November 3, 2021, already 10% have gotten their first dose.

You got 1st graders rolling up their sleeve, but Aunt Patty in Idaho still doesn’t “trust” the vaccine, which is very on-brand for America. At any rate, nearly 10 percent of children ages 5 to 11 (that’s 2.6 million younger kids) have received their first coronavirus vaccine dose, which is just a mere two weeks into the immunization campaign for the 28 million young Americans in that age group.

“For perspective, it took about 50 days for us to reach 10 percent of adults with one shot,” Zients shared at the White House on Wednesday.

When coronavirus shots were first rolled out nearly a year ago, uptake was mired by a combination of the “wait and see crowd” (have y’all waited enough?) and the fact that the government was very strict on who was eligible for a shot. Now, “the pace of vaccinations for kids has been accelerating. In the last week, 1.7 million kids got vaccinated — double the prior week,” Zients added.

Part of the acceleration is that there is 1 vaccine site for every 900 kids, compared to one vaccine site for every 3,500 Americans age 12 and older.

Although kids in the 5-11 range won’t be fully vaccinated against the virus before Thanksgiving gatherings, Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, took to Twitter with some tips for parents ahead of Thanksgiving starting with getting your kid their first dose as soon as you possibly can. “Even a single dose for your kid 10 days prior is an incredible safeguard,” he said.

Just like adults, kids need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine ideally spaced three weeks apart. Any child who gets their first dose in the next week or two could be finished with the series by Christmas — but keep in mind that doctors don’t consider someone fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose.

As for the general COVID-19 vaccine trends, Zients also shared on Wednesday that despite online estimates showing that only 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated (two doses) against COVID-19, Zients says that 80 percent of Americans age 12 or older had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine and 31 million people had been injected with boosters. “There’s more work to do, but these milestones represent critical progress,” he said.

Many states have already opened up booster eligibility to all adults and now with kids getting vaccinated at record speed, its nice to report some good pandemic news for once.