Vaccinations have declined again in North Carolina, but state data shows two age groups are underperforming on their COVID-19 vaccines.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Health officials are following a worrying vaccination trend as the Carolinas head into the holiday season. Data from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows sagging COVID-19 firing rates over the past four weeks after taking a boost over the summer.
These data show that two age groups are underachieving on immunization, relative to their share of population size. 12 to 17 year olds make up 8% of North Carolina’s population and 6% of the vaccinated population. People between the ages of 18 and 24 make up 9% of the state’s population and 8% of the vaccinated population.
According to the data, demand for vaccines among 12 to 17 year olds has been steadily declining since May, when Pfizer’s emergency use authorization was changed to include those under 12.
In the first two weeks of clearance, 12 to 17 year olds made up almost a third of weekly immunizations in the state. Now they are a tenth of the weekly hits.
South Carolina health officials are also noting a leveling in demand.
“There has been a certain plateau,” said Dr. Jane Kelly, deputy state epidemiologist with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. “I think there was an initial wave of people getting vaccinated in this age group as part of the back-to-school period. Some of that has slowed down, but we continue to have people flocking.”
Kelly reports good news in the immunization figures: rates among the age group most at risk. It reports that more than 75% of people 65 and over are vaccinated. In North Carolina, over 91% of people 65 and over are at least partially vaccinated.
North Carolina health officials have taken the step online to try to reach children.
With influencers TikTok, and its Teenvaxfacts.com site, NCDHHS is hoping to spark that urgency and excitement, as seventh-year student Cassie Black expressed when she was vaccinated in May.
“My whole family got that. So I wanted to be with them and we can travel more easily and I’m really excited,” Black told WCNC Charlotte on the day of her vaccination.
A new group of children may soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. An FDA advisory committee meets in three weeks to discuss lowering age of emergency use of Pfizer to 5 years.