The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer was 73% effective in protecting children under 5 during the spring surge of the omicron variant, the company announced Tuesday.
The United States began its vaccination campaign for infants, toddlers and preschool children in June, after months of delay. As of mid-August, only about 6% of children ages 6 months to 5 years had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.
Health authorities authorized doses of vaccines for children developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech based on a study that showed they were safe and produced high levels of antibodies against the virus. But there was only preliminary data on how it translated into effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19.
The new update looked at COVID-19 diagnoses reported between March and June in Pfizer’s current study of the three-dose vaccine. Among the 351 cases of children in the control group, 21 cases of COVID-19 were recorded, while there were only 13 infections among the 794 young people who received three doses of the vaccine.
The children’s cases were mainly caused by the BA.2 version of omicron that was circulating at the time. Today, the BA.5 version of omicron is responsible for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the United States and much of the world.
In older children and adults, COVID-19 vaccines have been used long enough to show that they continue to offer strong protection against severe illness and death. Still, scientists track the initial efficacy rate as further evidence of how well the vaccines perform, and to look for clues about how well they initially prevail against new variants.
This week, Pfizer asked US regulators to authorize modified vaccine doses that better fit the new omicron variants for 12-year-olds to be given as boosters towards the end of the year. The company said it is also developing updated vaccines for children under 12 years of age.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Source: El Nuevo Herald