Younger adults are seeking out COVID-19 vaccines at a slower rate than older adults, and if that pace of vaccination continues through August, vaccine coverage among younger adults will not reach levels achieved with older adults, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week.
The agency said more work is needed to increase vaccination rates among younger adults to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
Of the 57% American adults who received at least one vaccine dose by May 22, coverage was highest among people 65 or older and lowest among people aged 18 to 29, according to an analysis of vaccine rates published on Monday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The observations are based on vaccination data reported to the agency from Dec. 14, 2020 to May 22, 2021.
Younger Americans also are more likely to be reluctant to get vaccinated because of concerns over vaccine safety and effectiveness, the agency reported separately on Monday, citing data from household surveys conducted from March to May, 2021.
The lowest rates of vaccination were among lower income, non-Hispanic Black adults aged 18–39 with lower levels of education who lacked health insurance and live outside of major cities, according to the report.
It found that nearly one in four adults aged 18-39 said they would probably or definitely not get vaccinated during the survey period.
Vaccination of Americans began in December last year and early efforts were focused on specific high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers and older adults. This was later expanded to all American adults aged 18 and older, beginning April 19.
Offering workplace vaccination programs, paid leave for vaccination and mobile, walk-in clinics with flexible hours could help improve vaccination rates among younger adults, the CDC reported.