In case you missed it amidst the mask discourse: Pfizer was already the “vaccine for cool people,” but this week, it formally became the vaccine for teens. The FDA announced on Monday that it was expanding the Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine to include children ages 12 to 15, and the CDC followed this up with an official recommendation on Wednesday.
As Sarah Braner reported when the Pfizer adolescent trial results were released: “In the trial, no participants who received the vaccine contracted symptomatic COVID-19 out of a total of 2,260 participants, marking an efficacy rate of 100%.” So, this formal endorsement was a pretty foregone conclusion, but it’s still good news for the 17 million children ages 12 to 15 in the country.
Here are a couple more statistics about the 12-15 age group, via the Kaiser Family Foundation:
- This group accounts for 5% of the U.S. population and 27% of the population under age 16.
- Nearly half of children in this age group are people of color, including: 25% are Hispanic, 13% are Black, and 5% are Asian.
- 36% of children in this age group live in a family with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
And speaking of adolescent data: on Friday, the CDC diversified its vaccine tracker. In addition to state-by-state views of vaccination coverage for the overall population, adult population, and senior population, the Tracker will now show you vaccination coverage for each state’s population over age 12. Nationwide, 56% of this group has had at least one dose and 44% is fully vaccinated.
The Vaccinations County View page will show you coverage over age 12 by county, but these data aren’t yet available for easy download in the Community Profile Reports.
The CDC’s demographic vaccination data, meanwhile, groups adolescents in with (already eligible) 16 to 18-year olds in an under 18 category—so we aren’t yet able to see precisely how many children in this age group are getting vaccinated. This may become a concerning data gap as schools may seek to use 12-15 vaccination rates as an indicator for reopening next fall.
More vaccine coverage
- U.S. moves to approve booster shots despite minimal evidenceThis week, the federal government announced that the U.S. intends to provide third vaccine doses to all Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. This booster shot distribution will start in September, with adults becoming eligible once they hit eight months after their second shot. Many epidemiologists, vaccine experts, global health experts, and other scientists have criticized the decision.
- Three more COVID-19 data points, August 15A couple of additional items from this week’s COVID-19 headlines: children hospitalized with COVID-19, immunocompromised Americans now eligible for a third dose, and low cases linked to Lollapalooza.
- The case for a moratorium on booster shotsThis week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for wealthy nations to stop giving out booster shots in a push towards global vaccine equity. These nations should stall any booster shots until at least September, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Wednesday.
- A dispatch from Provincetown, Mass.This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Mike, a Bear Week attendee from Pittsburgh, who caught COVID-19 in Provincetown. He told me about his experience attending parties, getting sick, and learning about the scale of the outbreak.