Just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration extended the Emergency Use Authorization on COVID-19 immunization to include children ages 12 and up, rapidly accumulating data that should drive parents to get their kids vaccinated is just not having that effect. While the number of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 and its complications is still higher than it is for younger people, the rate of hospitalizations for adults has plateaued while it’s slowly increasing for adolescents—likely driven by a false sense that the danger has passed. Right now, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only Vermont has more than half of adolescents at least partially immunized; in Idaho, less than 1% of adolescents are. It’s essential to stress to parents that the rate of severe disease and hospitalization has not changed among nonvaccinated individuals, according to more data from the CDC. Given that many public spaces are offering greater access to those who can show proof of immunization, try painting a picture of a return to almost-normal, where kids can gather for pizza without wearing a mask. To the other extreme, point out that a return to full in-school learning in the fall is not guaranteed. If rates of COVID-19 infection are such, many states and school districts may be forced to continue with remote and hybrid learning. The point is this: We have the opportunity to continue improving our collective situation with regard to the virus; if we want to keep going in that direction, more eligible children have to be vaccinated.

Not Seeing Enough Adolescents Show Up for COVID-19 Shots? Stress the Social Benefits