Younger adults claim lowest COVID-19 vaccination uptake: CDC

Weekly COVID-19 vaccination uptake lagged among younger adults by late May, with those aged 18-29 claiming the lowest coverage compared to older age groups, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC).

The findings released Monday in the agency’s Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) include data for shots administered among adults over age 18 from December 14 to May 22. Older adults aged 65 up had the most vaccination coverage by May 22, with 80% receiving at least one dose, while people aged 18-29 held the lowest coverage at 38.3%. Even though vaccine eligibility expanded to all adults more recently on April 19, CDC researchers found that weekly vaccine initiation among younger adults hadn’t hit peaks seen in January February among people over age 65.

After vaccines became available to younger adults, weekly initiation remained below 4% to late May, falling from 3.6% to 1.9% for adults 18-29, 3.5% to 1.7% for adults 30-49.


“Based on the current rate of weekly initiation (as of May 22), younger persons will not reach the same levels of coverage as older persons by the end of August,” CDC researchers wrote.

Projected vaccination coverage for adults aged 18-29 was 57.5%, with coverage increasing alongside age; “71.4% for adults aged 30–49 years, 85.9% for adults aged 50–64 years, 94.9% for adults aged ≥65 years.”

The report also found that vaccination coverage was higher among women than men (except among adults over age 65), further findings indicated those in less urban areas were less likely to receive vaccinations.

“Across all age groups, people living in counties with higher social vulnerabilities or higher percentages of the population who are uninsured, living in poverty, lacking access to a computer, lacking access to a computer with Internet were less likely to be vaccinated,” the report reads. “High vaccination coverage among all age groups is important for decreasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths, especially among groups with lower vaccination uptake, such as young adults.”


The study also cited two surveys representative of U.S. adults aged 18-39, in which 51.8% said they were vaccinated or planning to receive a vaccine, while nearly 25% said they probably or definitely wouldn’t take a vaccine 23.2% said they would probably get vaccinated or were unsure. Reasoning behind reluctance included worries over vaccine side effects, COVID-19 vaccine distrust, waiting to see if the shot was safe, believing they didn’t need the vaccine.

“Continued targeted efforts are needed to accelerate vaccination rates, especially among younger adults. Community-based outreach efforts to increase vaccine confidence reduce potential barriers to access could improve COVID-19 vaccination initiation, particularly among persons aged 18–29 years, reduce the spread impact of COVID-19 among the general U.S. population,” study authors wrote.

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