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U.S. Adults' COVID-19 Vaccinations Steady, Teen Jabs Tick Up

U.S. Adults' COVID-19 Vaccinations Steady, Teen Jabs Tick Up

Story Highlights

  • Three-quarters of adults report being vaccinated for COVID-19
  • Vaccination continues to lag among teens, according to parents' reports
  • Rate jumps from 47% to 55% among kids 12-15; older teens steadier at 58%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The 74% of U.S. adults vaccinated against COVID-19 was virtually unchanged in October, roughly 10 months after shots were first widely administered to the general public. The total percentage either vaccinated or planning to be is also steady, at 80%.


Line graph. Monthly trends from January to September 2021 in the percentage of U.S. adults reporting they are vaccinated as well as the total percentage vaccinated or planning to be. Seventy-four percent of adults in October say they have been fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, essentially unchanged from September. The total percentage of adults who either have been vaccinated or plan to be is now 80%. That matches September but is up from 77% in August.

As they have each month, most of the 20% of U.S. adults who are not vaccinated and don't plan to be describe themselves as unlikely to change their mind. Just 16% of the vaccine-resistant group in October, representing about 3% of all adults, say they are likely to agree to be vaccinated in the future.

By comparison, in the spring, an average 21% of unvaccinated adults described themselves as likely to change their minds. But as the vaccination rate has risen, the unvaccinated group has dwindled to those most hardened in their views. Any future increases could depend on how effective the Biden Administration's recently issued vaccine mandates are at convincing reluctant workers to get the jab.

The latest results are based on an Oct. 18-24 update of Gallup's monthly COVID-19 tracking survey, conducted by web using the probability-based Gallup Panel.

Vaccination Accelerates Among Young Teens

In the same poll, 55% of parents of children aged 12 to 15 say their child has been vaccinated for COVID-19. That is up from 47% in August and September. Vaccination rose less among older teens, now at 58%, compared with an average 56% in August/September.

Additionally, 9% of parents of 12- to 15-year-old children and 7% of parents of 16- to 18-year-olds say they intend to have their child vaccinated. This brings the total percentages vaccinated or planning to be to 64% for younger teens and 65% for the older group.

The survey was conducted before the FDA's Oct. 29 decision to give emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use with children aged 5 to 11. As Gallup recently reported, 55% of parents of children in this younger age range polled in October planned to have their child vaccinated for COVID-19.

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 vaccination rate among U.S. adults has leveled off at about 75% in the past two months. Such plateaus have been seen before, only to be followed by a new jump. Although the reason for the increase from 69% vaccinated in July and August to 75% in September (roughly where it is today) wasn't clear, it may have been spurred by public concern about the coronavirus delta variant as it was peaking, or by compliance with employer vaccine mandates.

In addition to 5- to 11-year-old children coming on board with the vaccine, further increases in U.S. vaccinations are likely to come from U.S. workers (a quarter of whom are currently not vaccinated) who are under increasing pressure from their employers to be vaccinated. As of October, 36% of workers reported that their workplace is requiring employees to get vaccinated. That will increase if more companies shift from encouraging vaccination to requiring it as a condition of employment.

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