COVID-19 vaccination coverage for younger Americans lagging behind older adults: CDC study

COVID-19 vaccination coverage for younger Americans has lagged behind rates for older adults, even since the vaccine became available to all adults nationally in mid-April, according to a study released on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study determined that 80 percent of those aged 65 and older had received at least one vaccine dose by May 22, compared to 38.3 percent of those aged 18 to 29.

Vaccine coverage has also increased more slowly among younger adults compared to among older ones, according to the study.

The rate of weekly vaccination initiation — people getting their first shot out of the total population — among those 65 and older peaked at 8.2 percent during the week beginning with Feb. 7.

But the weekly vaccination initiation rate decreased across all age groups from April 19 to May 22, with those aged 18 to 29 seeing a 1.7 percent drop in people getting their first shot. For 30- to 49-year-olds, there was a 1.8 percent reduction in vaccination initiation.

“Despite recently expanded eligibility for vaccination to all adults, increases in weekly initiation among younger age groups have not reached peak weekly initiation rates that occurred in January and February among adults aged ≥65 years,” the study said.

What this means: Researchers predicted if current vaccination rates continue through August, coverage for young adults will “remain substantially lower than among older adults,” meaning the age group will be more at risk for cases, hospitalizations and deaths.