An Axios / Ipsos survey of all parents with a child under 18 showed that 46% either had their child vaccinated or their child had already received a dose.
What’s the point: Until now, the vast majority of people vaccinated against Covid-19 have been adults, as young people between the ages of 12 and 15 have only recently been allowed to be vaccinated. While older people are the most susceptible to the coronavirus, children (especially older children) can catch it and pass it on to others. This is why it is important that everyone gets vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the trend line of places where children are vaccinated so far shows an expected but still disappointing development. The same places where adults don’t get vaccinated also don’t see children getting vaccinated, which will only exacerbate the growing gaps in places where most people are protected from the virus.
A review of CDC data shows that we have immunized just over a fifth of all children between the ages of 12 and 17. This matches what the Kaiser poll found.
By my calculations, all but two of the states in the top 25 for adult immunizations are in the top 25 for childhood immunizations. The reverse is true for the lower half.
If you were to rank the states from best to worst immunization rates, the median difference between each state’s place on the adult list and the children’s list is only 3 places.
(To determine the vaccination rate of 12 to 17 year olds by state, I took the number of 18+ vaccinated with at least one dose and subtracted it from the 12+ vaccinated with at least one dose per state. Then divided by the population aged 12 to 17 in each state, according to the 2019 Census population estimates.)
The fact that the same states that have been successful in immunization in children and adults should not be surprising.
Last month’s Kaiser poll suggested this would happen. Among parents who had been vaccinated or wanted to be vaccinated immediately, 48% said they would get their children vaccinated right away. Of those who said they would not get vaccinated or would only get vaccinated if forced, only 2% said they would get their children vaccinated immediately.
But while the data isn’t shocking, it only helps consolidate worrying trends.
One of the biggest divisions in the adult immunization map has been the blue / red division that I mentioned last week. Focusing on the top 25 states for childhood immunizations, President Joe Biden won 22 in last year’s election. This includes the fact that he won all of the top 19. It’s similar to him who won 21 of the top 25 states for adult immunization.
Likewise, there is a great socio-economic divide. In terms of the education divide, 20 of the top 25 states for childhood immunizations are those where the number of adults with a college degree is higher than the average for all states. For adults, that’s 21 of the top 25 states.
The top 25 states for childhood immunizations are also those with the lowest poverty rates. In total, 22 of the top 25 states have child immunization rates below the national average for poverty rates. For adults, it’s a similar 23 out of 25.
Finally, the urban / rural divide is basically the same between the two groups as well. For childhood immunization rates, 18 of the top 25 states are places where a greater percentage of the population lives in urban areas than the state average. In adults, it’s 17 of the top 25 states.
The bottom line is that there will be places and social circles where catching the virus in the coming months will be much more difficult than in others. Certain social environments (more educated, richer and urban) will be more immune to the virus because the vast majority of the people who compose them (children and adults) will be vaccinated.
Hopefully we as a country will be able to come up with a strategy to tackle this vaccine gap. Otherwise, many more people than necessary will be at risk.