Pfizer’s Covid vaccine provided little protection from the omicron variant for children ages 5-11 according to a brand new study published in New York state. The study reveals that the vaccine was only 12% effective for this age group.
The New York State Department of Health found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine against Covid infection plummeted from 68% to 12% for kids in that age group during the omicron surge from Dec. 13 through Jan 24. Protection against hospitalization dropped from 100% to 48% during the same period.
The study has not yet undergone peer review, the academic gold standard. Due to the public health urgency of the pandemic, scientists have been publishing the results of their studies before such review.
The team of public health officials who conducted the study said the dramatic drop in vaccine effectiveness among children 5 to 11 years old was likely due to the lower dosage they received. Kids in this age group are given two 10-microgram shots, while children aged 12 to 17 receive 30-microgram shots.
“Given rapid loss of protection against infections, these results highlight the continued importance of layered protections, including mask wearing, for children to prevent infection and transmission,” the study reads.
“It is a little bit disheartening, but I think we also have to keep in mind that one of the complexities here is that because children started being vaccinated late last year, that coincides with when the omicron variant began circulating,” Dr. Nicola Klein, the author of the study, told CNN.
In the cohort of 12 to 17 year-olds, the effectiveness of the vaccine against infection went from 66% to 51% from December to January’s end.
There was a spike in hospitalizations of children during omicron, but most cases of the variant were reported as mild. The FDA had originally planned to expedite the vaccination of children 6 months to 4 years old, but has since backtracked.
“The FDA is now waiting to see clinical trial data on a third dose for the youngest kids, which is expected in April,” according to CNBC.