COVID source callout: CDC’s vaccinations by age data

Screenshot of the CDC’s vaccine dashboard, showing about 65,000 first dose vaccinations for children under age 12.

When I sent out last week’s issue, the CDC’s Vaccination Demographics page was grouping newly eligible 12 to 15-year-olds in with 16 to 17-year-olds. Now, the agency’s age reporting has diversified a bit: you can find separate vaccination numbers for children ages 16 to 17, 12 to 15, and under 12.

Wait… under 12?

That’s right. The CDC reports that about 65,000 children under age 12 have received at least one vaccine dose as of May 22, even though this age group is not yet eligible for any of the vaccines on the market.

Where did this number come from? The CDC’s page doesn’t offer any explanations, but possibilities may include:

  • Pfizer and Moderna are currently running clinical trials for the under-12 population, and children in these trials may have been entered into vaccination records.
  • Errors in the data pipeline—maybe some kids in the 12 to 15 age group were logged as under 12 instead, or some birthdays were input incorrectly.

But the Pfizer and Moderna trials have enrolled only 12,000 under-12 participants total. That leaves over 50,000 vaccinations that we can’t explain—it’s a pretty big number to attribute to data errors.

If anyone from the CDC is reading this and can tell me what’s up… my email is

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