The study finds that the Pfizer Covid vaccine was just 12% effective against omicron in kids 5 to 11
March 2, 2022: According to a study published Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech’s two-dose Covid vaccine provided very little protection for children aged 5 to 11 in the wave of omicron infection in New York.
The New York State Department of Health found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine against Covid infection plummeted from 68% to 12% for kids in that age group during the omicron surge from December 13 through January 24. Protection against hospitalization dropped from 100% to 48% during the same period.
The study has not yet undergone peer review, the academic gold standard. Due to the public health urgency of the pandemic, scientists have been publishing the results of their studies before such a review.
The team of public health officials who conducted the study said the dramatic drop in vaccine effectiveness among children 5 to 11 years old was likely due to the lower dosage they received. Kids in this age group are given two 10-microgram shots, while children aged 12 to 17 receive 30-microgram photos.
The researchers also compared 11 and 12-year-olds during the weekend ended January 30. They found the vaccine effectiveness plunged to 11% for the low-dosage group but offered 67% protection to the higher-dose group.
“Given the rapid loss of protection against infections, these results highlight the continued importance of layered protections, including mask-wearing, for children to prevent infection and transmission,” the public health officials wrote in the study.
For children aged 12 to 17 years old, vaccine effectiveness against infection dropped from 66% to 51% from December through the end of January. Protection against hospitalization dropped from 85% to 73% for teenagers during the exact period.
The data comes as New York City plans to end its school mask mandate by March 7, with California doing the same four days later. State governments are easing licenses and restrictions as Covid infections decline dramatically after the omicron variant swept the nation in December and January.
Covid infections are down 91% from a pandemic high in January. The U.S. reported a daily average of nearly 66,000 new conditions on Sunday, compared to the more than 802,000 on January 15, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. suffered a spike in hospitalizations of children with Covid during the omicron wave. The Food and Drug Administration sought to fast-track Pfizer’s vaccine for kids aged six months through 4 years old this month in response to the number of children hospitalized with Covid.
However, the FDA and Pfizer decided to put those plans on hold after data on the first two doses did not meet expectations. The FDA is now waiting to see clinical trial data on a third dose for the youngest kids, expected in April.
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