Many Eligible Teens, Young Adults Still Haven't Gotten Their COVID-19 Vaccinations
Individuals ages 12 and older are eligible to get inoculated against COVID-19 and while Texas has seen a more recent increase in vaccination rates for teens and young adults, a significant percentage are still choosing not to get the vaccine.
According to The New York Times, as of Sept. 10, only half of 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
POLITICO reported in early September that “teens and 20-something adults have some of the lowest vaccination rates among eligible populations, likely making them a larger factor in spreading the virus."
COVID cases in Texas pediatric units have hit record highs as the delta variant continues to surge across the state and country.
CDC data shows that weekly COVID-19–associated hospitalizations among U.S. children and adolescents rose nearly five-fold from late June to mid-August in 2021. Hospitalization rates were 10 times higher among adolescents who were unvaccinated.
Why are so many eligible youth still unvaccinated? What are their concerns? What barriers do they face?
What can be done to encourage more U.S. teens and young adults to get vaccinated? What are city and state officials doing to reach them? How are parents helping or hindering their decisions?
What are the risks of failing to reach this demographic?
- Jason Nagata, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at UC San Francisco and co-author of a study on vaccine hesitancy in young adults
- Anita Kurian, MBBS, MPH, DrPH, assistant director who oversees the Communicable Disease Division of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
- Mandie Tibball Svatek, MD, pediatrician with University Health and UT Health San Antonio
- Brigitte Bailey, MD, pediatric psychiatrist on faculty at UT Health San Antonio, also serving patients with University Health, the Harvey Najim Hope Center, and Clarity Child Guidance Center
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, September 21.