Younger Americans are less likely to be vaccinated than older ones, and factors like income and education can affect vaccination reluctance, according to two new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By May 22, 57 percent of adults had received at least one dose of vaccine, the authors of one of the new publications found, but the rate fluctuated widely depending on age: of those 65 or older, 80 percent were at least partially vaccinated, compared with 38 Percent of 18 to 29 year olds.
Part of the rate gap was due to the fact that many young adults were not eligible for vaccination until March or April. But uptake has also been slower among younger Americans, and a significant proportion of them remain hesitant.
If vaccination initiation rates remain stable, only 58 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds will be vaccinated by the end of August, compared with 95 percent of 65-year-olds, the researchers found.
Immunization rates have lagged among young men, people who live in rural counties, and people who live in counties where a high proportion of the population is low-income, uninsured, or without access to a computer or the Internet.
In a second study, 24.9 percent of the 18 to 39-year-olds surveyed said that they would probably or definitely not get vaccinated. Those who were young, black, low-income, had no health insurance, lived outside of metropolitan areas, or were less educated were less likely to say they had vaccinated or said they were definitely planning to vaccinate.
The studies highlight the hurdles remaining in improving vaccine coverage, two weeks to President Biden's self-imposed July 4 deadline to at least partially vaccinate 70 percent of adults. In recent weeks, his government has changed its approach by moving away from mass vaccination sites and adopting more targeted strategies, including setting up mobile or pop-up vaccination clinics and on-site vaccination events in black barbershops.
The US vaccination campaign began on December 14th. Healthcare workers, adults aged 75 and over, and members of other high-risk groups were generally the first to be considered, although vaccination guidelines varied from state to state. By April 19, all adults were eligible for the recordings. Using the vaccination data submitted by the states, a team at C.D.C. Researchers analyzed vaccination patterns in different demographic groups.
They also calculated the percentage of people in each age group who received their first dose during a given week. This “initiation rate” of the vaccine was highest in adults aged 65 and over, peaking the week of February 7, when 8 percent of adults in this group received their first dose.
Between April 19 and May 22, the proportion of 18 to 29 year olds who received their first dose fell from 3.6 percent to 1.9 percent.
"If the current vaccination rate continues through August, vaccination coverage will remain significantly lower in young adults than in older adults," the researchers wrote.
In the second study, between March 5 and May 2, the researchers interviewed a nationally representative sample of adults, including 2,726 18- to 39-year-olds. Of those who said they probably or definitely would not get the vaccine, 57 percent said they didn't trust the vaccine, while 56 percent were concerned about possible side effects and 36 percent said they didn't need the vaccine.
The study also suggested possible strategies for increasing vaccination coverage. Of those who said they were unsure or likely to get the vaccine, 20 to 40 percent said they would be more likely to get it if they had more information about its safety and effectiveness if it prevented them from doing it to pass the virus on to family and friends, or when it would allow them to return to normal social activities.