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
- We need more data for fall booster decisionsThis week, the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee met to discuss fall booster shots, in anticipation of another COVID-19 surge next winter. The discussion demonstrated the U.S.’s continued failure to provide the data that are really needed to make these decisions.
- Sources and updates, May 8Sources and updates for the week of May 8 include booster shots, vaccine attitudes, wastewater data, and source diversity.
- The US still doesn’t have the data we need to make informed decisions on booster shotsLast fall, I wrote that the U.S. did not have the data we needed to make informed decisions about booster shots. Several months later, we still don’t have the data we need, as questions about a potential BA.2 wave and other future variants abound. Discussions at a recent FDA advisory committee meeting made these data gaps clear.
- Sources and updates, March 13Sources and updates for the week of March 13 include vaccine data annotations, free rapid tests, a combination of Delta and Omicron, and more.