SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and young people (CYP) can lead to life-threatening COVID-19, transmission within households and schools, and the development of long COVID. Using linked health and administrative data, we investigated vaccine uptake among 3,433,483 CYP aged 5–17 years across all UK nations between 4th August 2021 and 31st May 2022. We constructed national cohorts and undertook multi-state modelling and meta-analysis to identify associations between demographic variables and vaccine uptake. We found that uptake of the first COVID-19 vaccine among CYP was low across all four nations compared to other age groups and diminished with subsequent doses. Age and vaccination status of adults living in the same household were identified as important risk factors associated with vaccine uptake in CYP. For example, 5–11 year-olds were less likely to receive their first vaccine compared to 16–17 year-olds (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR]: 0.10 (95%CI: 0.06–0.19)), and CYP in unvaccinated households were less likely to receive their first vaccine compared to CYP in partially vaccinated households (aHR: 0.19, 95%CI 0.13–0.29).


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Cite as

Aldridge, S., Agrawal, U., Murphy, S., Millington, T., Akbari, A., Almaghrabi, F., Anand, S., Bedston, S., Goudie, R., Griffiths, R., Joy, M., Lowthian, E., de Lusignan, S., Patterson, L., Robertson, C., Rudan, I., Bradley, D., Lyons, R., Sheikh, A. & Owen, R. 2024, 'Uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations amongst 3,433,483 children and young people: meta-analysis of UK prospective cohorts', Nature Communications, 15, article no: 2363. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-46451-0

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Last updated: 27 April 2024
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