It has now been two months since the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for the youngest Americans, and despite some initial enthusiasm from a select group of parents, the vast majority of children under the age of 5 remain completely unvaccinated.
About 941,000 children, under the age of five have now received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, newly updated federal data shows. The overall total represents approximately 4.8% of the 19.5 million U.S. children in that age group.
Just 182,000 of those children, or less than 1%, have been fully vaccinated.
A three-year-old receives the COVID-19 vaccination, with Moderna, at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Mass., June 21, 2022.
Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
When broken down by age group, data shows that the majority of children under 5 who have received at least one shot are between the ages of 2 and 4 — 682,000, compared to just 259,000 children under the age of 2.
Preliminary data reported by states shows that several states in the Northeast currently have the highest share of children under 5 vaccinated with at least one dose. Washington, D.C. continues to lead the nation with nearly 15% of its jurisdiction’s children under 5 vaccinated with their first shot, followed by Vermont (10.4%), and Massachusetts (6.87%).
Mississippi has the lowest percentage of children under 5 vaccinated, with 0.47% of children with their first shot, followed by Alabama (0.64%) and Louisiana (0.79%).
The overall totals, thus far, are notably lower than prior predictions, which had already suggested the initial rollout would be sluggish.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey found that many parents remain reluctant to vaccinate their young children.
As of July, 43% of parents with children ages 6 months to 4 years old said they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated against COVID-19. In comparison, when polled in April, 27% of parents had stated they would “definitely not” get their child vaccinated against the virus.
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a three-year-old child at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum vaccination site, serving children six months to 5-Years old, in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 23, 2022.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Thirteen percent of parents said they would only inoculate their child, if required, and 27% reported they were waiting to see whether to vaccinate their child.
Only 7% of parents reported they got their child vaccinated right away, while another 10% of parents said that they were still planning to get their child vaccinated “right away.”
However, some officials have said that more children, particularly those under 5, may be vaccinated as the rollout continues, and they visit their pediatrician for their annual visit.
To date, about 29.6 million children ages 17 and under have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. However, data also shows that just under 43.4 million eligible kids are still completely unvaccinated.
Less than a quarter of eligible children, ages 5 to 17, have also been boosted.