Adolescent COVID-19 vaccinations lag across US

Teen with thumbs-up after vaccination
Teen with thumbs-up after vaccination

Godji10 / iStock

Only 47% of the nation's 12- to 17-year-olds are vaccinated against COVID-19, and in nine states, less than a third of eligible teens are vaccinated.

The statistics, as reported by CNN, demonstrate the geographical gaps in vaccination seen in the country: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee in the South have less than 30% of adolescents vaccinated, as do North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Across the country, 76.2% of Americans 12 and older (the group that is eligible) have received at least one dose of vaccine and 65.8% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among adults, 78.0% have received at least one shot and 67.6% are fully vaccinated. The agency's COVID Data Tracker shows 56.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 65.1% have received at least one dose, and 3.6% have received a booster shot.

Also today, the CDC announced that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet on Nov 2 and 3 third to discuss use of the Pfizer vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, following a Food and Drug Administration meeting on Oct 26.

Racial COVID gap closing

The United States reported 100,083 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 2,392 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The 7-day average of new daily cases is 99,669, with 1,765 daily deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.

Throughout the pandemic, stark racial disparities have been seen across the United States, but as the fourth surge caused by the Delta (B1617.2) variant hit the country this summer, that gap closed as more rural communities saw increased viral activity. In these communities, White people remain unvaccinated, while more Black and Hispanic people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of September 2021, "Racial disparities in cases and death rates have narrowed for Black and Hispanic people in the recent period compared to earlier in the pandemic."

Black and Hispanic Americans were also more likely to be exposed to the virus during earlier waves of the pandemic, as they were more likely to have front-line jobs that did not allow them to work from home. Now, as many Americans return back to work, essential workers are not the only group at risk.

80% of CFOs support vaccine mandates

A survey of corporate leaders shows that 80% of US chief financial officers (CFOs) support vaccine mandates, according to CNBC. The survey comes the day after President Joe Biden's visit to Chicago, where he congratulated companies already using vaccine requirements.

Only 15% of CFOs polled said they totally oppose mandates.

In related news, US job growth was slow for a second straight month in September, a sign that the pandemic is still weighing on the economy, the Associated Press reports. Biden said yesterday that mandates will be good for the economy.

"I know that vaccination requirements are a tough medicine—unpopular to some, politics for others—but they’re lifesaving, they're game-changing for our country," Biden said.

Other US developments

  • UCHealth, a large hospital system in Colorado, says people on its organ transplant waiting list won't be offered an organ if they refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, NPR reports.

  • San Francisco will begin easing its indoor mask mandate starting Oct 15, as long as new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations decline or remain stable, according to the Washington Post.

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