Study Reveals Disappointing News For Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids

Currently, Pfizer is the only pharmaceutical company offering a vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, according to U.S. News & World Report. While the vaccine effectively protects children against severe illness of the virus, it offered little protection against infection. According to a 2022 preprint study published by the New York State Department of Health, results of a recent clinical trial showed that the vaccine's protection declined rapidly for children between 5 and 11 years old. Thus, it was recommended that further studies need to be done to determine the adequate dosing amounts.

As it stands today, children 12 and older receive the same 30 micrograms of the vaccine that are given to adults. However, children 11 and younger are given 10 micrograms. Eli Rosenberg, deputy director for science at the New York State Department of Health, said he's not entirely surprised by the results, and the reduced effectiveness is likely also due to the vaccine being developed in response to an earlier variant. He tells U.S. News & World Report, "It looks very distressing to see this rapid decline, but it's again all against Omicron."

Even though the outcomes have been poor, Rosenberg still encourages parents to vaccinate their children due to its protection against severe illness.

What the research shows for efficacy in young children

According to U.S. News & World Report, Rosenberg and his team reviewed evidence from two groups of children between December 2021 and the end of January 2022. The older group involved 852,384 fully vaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds. The younger group involved 365,502 fully vaccinated 5 to 11-year-olds. Based on their research, they found that the vaccine's efficacy against hospitalization dropped from 85% to 73% in older children and from 100% to 48% in younger children. In terms of protection against infection, efficacy dropped from 66% to 51% in older children and from 68% to just 12% in younger children.

Numbers are similar for the booster shot, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is currently available for people 12 years and older. On February 24, 2022, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that 19% of all COVID-19 cases are children, and they represented 26.2% of reported cases in the past week alone. They also said from the time the pandemic began, there was a 2% increase in all child COVID-19 cases between February 10, 2022, through February 24, 2022.