Young Children’s Vaccination Rates May Have Already Peaked

A weekly roundup of headlines about how the pandemic is shaping schools and education policy, vetted by AEI Visiting Fellow John Bailey

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This is our weekly briefing on the pandemic, vetted by John Bailey. Click here to see the full archive.

COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Children Under 5 Have Peaked

  • Kaiser Family Foundation: “As of July 20, approximately 544,000 children under the age of 5 had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. This represents 2.8% of the approximately 19 million children in this age group.” 
  • “Vaccinations peaked among those under 5 about two weeks into their eligibility, even before the July 4 holiday. After a quick rise in vaccinations soon after they became eligible, the rate of vaccination (as measured by the 7-day rolling average of new doses administered) peaked at just over 28,000 on July 1. It then began to decrease and was about 13,000 on July 20.”
  • Related: More than 40% of parents of young kids say they will not get their child a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey.
  • More data: Children and COVID-19 Vaccination Trends, via American Academy of Pediatrics

The Big Three

Getty Images

Families With Young Children Led Exodus from Major Cities During COVID

  • New research from Economic Innovation Group: “From July 2020 to July 2021, the number of children under five years of age in large urban counties — those intersecting with an urban area of at least 250,000 people — fell by 238,000, a one-year drop of 3.7%.”
  • “Including the early months of the pandemic in 2020, this figure grows even larger. Between 2019 and July 2021, large urban counties saw their under-five population fall by 358,000 children, a decline of 5.4%.”
  • “The population data suggests that the shoe has yet to drop for K-12 school districts.”

How Long is COVID Infectious? What Scientists Know So Far

  • Nature: “When the CDC halved its recommended isolation time for people with COVID-19 to five days back in December, it said that the change was motivated by science. Specifically, the CDC said that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of the illness, in the one to two days before the onset of symptoms and for two to three days after.”
  • “Many scientists disputed that decision then and they continue to do so. Such dissent is bolstered by a series of studies confirming that many people with COVID-19 remain infectious well into the second week after they first experience symptoms.”

Pandemic Enrollment Fallout

  • Nat Malkus at AEI: “The COVID-19 pandemic caused the largest enrollment declines in the history of American public schools.”
  • “Enrollment rebounds fell along partisan lines. In 2021–22, most districts that voted for Donald Trump rebounded, while enrollment continued to fall in districts that voted for Joe Biden.”
  • “Districts that spent more of 2020–21 remote face the largest enrollment declines and are more likely to see substantial revenue declines associated with them.”

Federal Updates

COVID Boosters Could Be Fast-Tracked

  • NPR: “The Biden administration may scrap plans to let more younger adults get second COVID-19 boosters this summer. Instead, officials are trying to speed up availability of the next generation of boosters in the fall, NPR has learned.”
  • “The new strategy is aimed at trying to balance protecting people this summer with keeping people safe next winter, when the country will probably get hit by yet another surge.”

White House Summit on the Future of COVID-19 Vaccines

  • Politico: “The meeting was attended by academic, industry and government representatives, but officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who play key roles in the regulation and distribution of vaccines, did not appear on panels.”
  • Stat: “Vaccines delivered as a skin patch — really a collection of microscopic needles ‘as long as a piece of paper is thick’ — could provide immunity that’s stronger than any traditional vaccine injected into a muscle using a syringe. Vaccines delivered as a nasal mist, other experts argued, could stop COVID transmission altogether, effectively bringing the pandemic to an end.”
  • “One official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that a funding request to Congress, worth as much as $12 billion, is in the works.”

City & State News


State to give ‘baby bonds’ to children who lost a parent or guardian to COVID.


Judge tosses Gov. Ducey’s lawsuit challenging Biden administration over limits on COVID-19 relief funds.


Addressing teacher shortages: “The Florida Department of Education announced that military veterans and their spouses could receive five-year vouchers to allow them to teach in the classroom without a teacher’s degree. The move is tied to $8.6 million the state announced would be used to expand career and workforce training opportunities for military veterans and their spouses.”


The state’s largest school district will require universal masking on school property as Jefferson County moves into the highest level of COVID-19 community spread.


It’s not just COVID-19: Why Texas faces a teacher shortage.


Fairfax school employees accused of stealing as many as 35,000 laptops.

COVID-19 Research

COVID Vaccine Doesn’t Raise Risk of Myopericarditis in Kids 

  • CIDRAP on a new study: “In conclusion, we found the risk of myopericarditis following Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination to be approximately 5 in 1,000,000 vaccines aged 5 to 11 years, significantly lower compared with immunized adolescents.”

Additional Studies Suggesting That the Coronavirus Came From Wuhan Market

  • Washington Post: “The coronavirus pandemic began in separate viral spillovers — at least two but perhaps as many as two dozen — from live animals sold and butchered in late 2019 at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, according to two papers published Tuesday in the journal Science.”

Masks for Prevention of Respiratory Virus Infections, Including SARS-CoV-2

  • Update in Annals of Internal Medicine: “In previous updates, the evidence for mask use versus no use for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in community settings was assessed as low to moderate strength favoring mask use, based on 2 RCTs and 8 observational studies.”
  • “For this update, 2 new observational studies were consistent with prior evidence finding mask use associated with reduced risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.”


Districts Continue to Struggle with Staffing, Political Polarization, and Unfinished Instruction

  • Research from RAND: “The typical district has increased substitute teachers’ daily pay 6% above prepandemic levels, after adjusting for inflation.”
  • “More than three-quarters of districts have increased their number of teaching and nonteaching staff above prepandemic levels.”
  • “Roughly half of district leaders see a fiscal cliff looming after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) federal aid expires, and they are trying to prepare for it.”

2022 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey

  • Deloitte report: “33% of families report their household financial situation has worsened since last year (vs. 22% in 2021), and 57% are concerned about inflation’s impact on the cost of school products.”
  • “8% are homeschooling their children vs. 4% in 2021.”
  • “The back-to-school market size is estimated to be $34.4B, up 5.8% [year over year].”
  • “36% of parents have spent money on products/services to address their child’s mental health”

Teachers Spend Hundreds on Materials

  • EdChoice and Morning Consult: Report / Crosstabs
  • Teachers report spending over $500 of their own money in the last school year on classroom materials, and they spent around $300 on professional development.

…And on a Lighter Note

It’s Not How Many Times You Get Knocked Down That Count

It’s how many times you get back up…and if you do so with style.

For even more COVID policy and education news, subscribe to John Bailey’s daily briefing via Substack.

Disclosure: John Bailey is an adviser to the Walton Family Foundation, which provides financial support to The 74.

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