Pfizer for the whole pfamily (now CDC-verified!)

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.
Vaccination coverage for the population ages 12 and up, as of May 15. The darker blue a state is, the better its coverage.

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 failed to vaccinate the world in 2021; will 2022 be more successful?
    In January, COVAX set a goal that many global health advocates considered modest: delivering 2.3 billion vaccine doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. is saying it’ll deliver just 800 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021, according to the Washington Post, and only about 600 million had been delivered by early December.
  • One month into vaccinations for kids 5-11, uptake varies wildly by state
    It’s been about a month since the FDA and CDC authorized a version of Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages five to 11. Those kids whose parents immediately took them to get vaccinated are now eligible for their second doses, and will be considered fully vaccinated by Christmas. Despite widespread availability of the shots, vaccine uptake has varied wildly.
  • Omicron updates: More transmissible, immune evading, but still not cause for panic
    We continue to learn more about this new variant as it spreads rapidly across the world, though much of the data are still preliminary. Here are a few major updates, including how vaccines fare against Omicron, its rapid spread, and more.
  • Cash incentives for vaccination have little impact
    While politicians at all levels have praised cash incentives, research has shown that this strategy has little impact on actually convincing Americans to get vaccinated. A recent investigation I worked on (at the Documenting COVID-19 project and the Missouri Independent) provides new evidence for this trend: the state of Missouri allocated $11 million for gift cards that residents could get upon receiving their first or second vaccine dose, but the vast majority of local health departments opted not to participate in the program—and a very small number of gift cards have been distributed thus far.

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