Suara.com – Two doses of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine were shown to protect against severe disease in children aged 5 to 11 years during the recent surge in Omicron variants. However, it quickly loses most of its ability to prevent infection in the age group, according to a study by New York State researchers.
The vaccine’s efficacy against infection among such children declined to 12 percent in late January from 68 percent in mid-December compared with unvaccinated children, according to the study, which has not yet been peer reviewed.
For those ages 12 to 17, vaccine protection against infection fell to 51 percent in late January from 66 percent in mid-December. Similarly, as quoted from the Times of India.
“These results highlight the potential need to study alternative vaccine doses for children and the continued layered protection, including wearing of masks, to prevent infection and transmission,” the researchers said.
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The vaccine was about 48 percent effective in keeping younger age groups out of hospital, with 73 percent efficacy against hospitalizations among teens last month, data showed. That’s down from 100 percent and 85 percent effectiveness against hospitalization for the two age groups in mid-December.
Dr. Paul Offit, an expert on pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, questioned whether the data are strong enough to say the vaccine’s efficacy has decreased significantly, especially against severe disease.
“It’s not surprising that protection against minor illnesses will diminish,” Offit said. “We know that Omicron is somewhat immune to mild disease. The aim of this vaccine is to protect against severe disease – to keep children away from hospitals.”
Offit said the number of hospitalizations was too low to draw any real conclusions, and there was little information about why children were hospitalized. He noted that protection from previous infections among the unvaccinated might also change the numbers.
“Natural infection can protect against serious disease,” he said.
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Younger children received a 10-microgram lower dose of vaccine than children 12 to 17 years of age, who received the same 30-microgram dose as adults and were eligible for a third booster shot.