Children’s COVID vaccine not as effective on omicron as delta, but helps prevent serious illness from both


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Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine protects against omicron variant less than delta strain in children, but protects against severe disease with both variants, study finds New England Journal of Medicine Posted Wednesday.

During the omicron surge, vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 could reduce hospitalizations by more than two-thirds and prevent serious illness, the report said.

Vaccination also reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and strongly prevented serious illness among 12- to 18-year-olds, according to a study co-led by Dr. Adrienne Randolph of Boston Children’s Hospital with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“The reason children are vaccinated against COVID-19 is to prevent serious complications from SARS-CoV-2 infection, including hospitalization,” Randolph said in a statement. Press release“This evidence suggests that vaccination significantly reduces this risk in children aged 5 to 11 years. Although the vaccine provided less protection from hospitalization for omicron in adolescents compared with delta, it prevented severe omicron in both variants. disease. “

The study examined 1,185 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 aged 5 to 18 and 1,627 control patients with undiagnosed COVID-19 of similar age at 31 pediatric hospitals in 23 states from July 2021 to February 2022 The data.

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Overall, 88 percent of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were unvaccinated, and 25 percent required life support measures, the researchers found.

They dug deeper and found that 92% of children aged 5-11 hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated. Of these, 16% were considered critically ill and required life-saving interventions such as intubation. Of this group, 90 percent were unvaccinated, according to the study release.

Among 12- to 18-year-olds hospitalized with COVID-19, 87% were unvaccinated. The study showed that 27% were seriously ill, and 93% of them were unvaccinated. Two children died, the statement said.

According to the study, two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 68 percent effective in preventing omicron hospitalizations in the group of children aged 5 to 11. Because this age group has only recently become eligible for the vaccine, they cannot effectively count the number of severe illnesses alone, the researchers said in the statement.

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The study authors also said that in the 12-18 age group, vaccination with the delta variant was 92 percent effective against hospitalization, while the omicron variant was 40 percent effective.

Despite the decline, the study authors said vaccination was 96 percent effective in preventing severe disease cases during delta and 79 percent during micron.

New research is emerging on the effectiveness of delta and omicron variants in vaccinating children against COVID-19.
(Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, file)

The vaccine is currently available to both children and teens, but many parents remain hesitant, the researchers said. As of March 16, only 57 percent of children ages 12 to 17 and 27 percent of children ages 5 to 11 had received two doses of the vaccine, according to CDC data collected by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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“We hope our findings will help parents make decisions about vaccinating their children and teens against COVID-19,” Randolph said in the statement. “The benefits clearly outweigh the risks, as severe infection in childhood can have long-term consequences. as a result of. “

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