COVID-19 vaccination rates for kids under 6 remain low
In June 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and unanimously recommended both the Moderna two dose COVID-19 vaccine series and the Pfizer three dose series for children aged 6 months to 4 years. These were critical advancements in vaccination accessibility to the millions of children who were not previously able to receive this safe, effective protection against COVID-19. However, since these authorizations, the COVID-19 vaccinations rates for young children have remained low – even in communities with strong, pro-vaccine sentiment.
According to recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 325,000 young children nationwide (approximately 6% of kids under 6) are fully vaccinated. Given the extended timeline of Pfizer’s three dose series, however, some children may be not yet be accounted for in this data on full vaccination. Regardless, these data still exhibit a low vaccination rate for this age group. According to the Washington Post, “While some parents blame a lack of access, experts believe misinformation surrounding the shots for younger children is driving vaccine hesitancy.”
The FDA’s evaluation and analysis of the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing data of these vaccines was rigorous and comprehensive. It included the official determination that the known and potential benefits of these vaccines for children outweigh all known and potential risks for pediatric populations. The same safety protocols and processes were used to approve these vaccines as were used to approve the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters which 68% of U.S. adults have received.
In August, members of our staff sat down with their toddlers to talk about their experiences vaccinating their young kids against COVID-19. Click here to watch the video on YouTube! As omicron and its subvariants continue to spread, increasing vaccination rates remains the most effective way to both combat the spread of COVID-19 and avoid its potential complications. Vaccination also helps prevent the development of new and more dangerous COVID-19 variants that could impact us all. Resources to help you find a COVID-19 vaccine for your child are listed below:
- Many vaccine providers are now taking appointments for this age group in advance. Find one from this list of vaccine providers for young children or use the vaccine finder page to find a provider near you.
- All mobile vaccine clinics now have vaccines for younger children. Find an appointment at a mobile clinic.
- If you need a follow-up dose, ask about getting one at the time of your child’s vaccination. Many providers offer follow-up doses to parents/guardians along with pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.
- The FDA recently authorized updated versions of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to offer protection from the original COVID-19 virus and the currently circulating omicron variant. Anyone aged 12 and older can get an omicron dose at least two months after finishing their primary series or receiving their most recent booster dose. Find an appointment for an omicron dose.