Even as cases drop among vaccinated Americans, the coronavirus still can spread among unvaccinated people—who will be disproportionately children. Pfizer’s shot is likely to be authorized for ages 12 to 15 in several weeks’ time, but younger kids may have to wait until the fall or even early 2022 as clinical trials run their course…theatlantic.com, We Are Turning COVID-19 Into a Young Person’s Disease, Sarah Zhang, 2021

Vaccination is already changing the landscape of COVID-19 risk by age. In the U.S., hospital admissions have fallen dramatically for adults over 70 who were prioritized for vaccines, but they have remained steady—or have even risen slightly—in younger groups that became eligible more recently. This trend is likely to continue as vaccines reach younger and younger adults. Over the summer, the absolute number of cases may drop as mass vaccination dampens transmission while the relative share of cases among the unvaccinated rises, simply because they are the ones still susceptible. The unvaccinated group will, of course, be disproportionately children. By dint of our vaccine order, COVID-19 will start looking like a disease of the young.

This means vaccines are working, but it also means many Americans are flipping how they think about COVID-19 risk. Adults who spent the past year worrying about their elderly parents are now worrying about their kids instead.


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