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Preprint Study Shows Pfizer Vaccine Less Effective in Preventing Infection and Hospitalizations of Kids

March 3, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

A new preprint study from New York State Department of Health shows that the Pfizer vaccine did not prevent infection and hospitalizations in kids up to age 11 as effectively as it did for older age ranges, including those aged 12-17. 

To conduct the study, health records from New York State children aged 5-17 were analyzed during the omicron wave from Dec. 13, 2021, to Jan. 30, 2022. 

The findings show that out of about 365,000 children aged 5-11 who received two vaccine doses there was a 56% drop in vaccine protection and 52% decline in the effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing hospitalizations observed in the findings. 

For children aged 12-17, however, the effectiveness of the vaccine protection only dropped 15%, and the ability of the vaccine to prevent hospitalization dropped 12%. 

The findings support that children aged 5-11 experience a rapid loss of protection against infection when it comes to the omicron variant.

This was already seen in previous research from Pfizer that protections for children under 5 from the vaccine did not seem to match protections offered to those in older age groups. 

Pfizer issued a statement that they are still seeking to amend the emergency use authorization to include children 4 months through 6 years of age, but so far, there has been no indication of how the company plans to balance the protections the vaccine offers for all age ranges. 

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered the request to amend the emergency authorization for vaccine use in children under the age of 5, but a meeting set to discuss the matter was canceled at the end of February.   

The results from the preprint study and other databases have been presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, but the FDA still anticipates that a full view of the data might not be ready until early April. 

The agency is also seeking more data on how well the vaccine works after a third dose.

Alexa can be reached at alexa@thewellnews.com 

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