Pfizer shot far less effective in children aged 5 to 11 than in older children, new data shows

Written by admin

Pfizer shot far less effective in children aged 5 to 11 than in older children, new data shows

The coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNtech is much less effective than older teens or adults at preventing infection in children aged 5 to 11, according to a large new set of data collected by health officials in New York state. Is. Deep implications for these children and their parents.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID shot authorized in the United States for that age group. It still prevents severe disease in children, but provides almost no protection against infection, even within a month of full vaccination, the data, which were collected during the Omicron surge, suggest.

The sharp decline in vaccine performance in younger children may stem from the fact that they receive about a third of the doses given to older children and adults, researchers and federal officials have reviewed the data.

The findings, which were posted online Monday, come on the heels of clinical trial results showing that the vaccine performed poorly in children between the ages of 2 and 4, who were also Got a small dose.

Experts worry that this news will further deter hesitant parents from vaccinating their children. Other studies showed that the vaccine was not potently protective against Omicron type infections in adults.

“This is disappointing, but not entirely surprising, because this is a vaccine developed in response to an earlier version,” said Eli Rosenberg, deputy director of science at the New York State Department of Health, who led the study. “It is very disturbing to see this rapid decline, but it is again against Omicron.”

Still, he and other public health experts said they recommend the shot for children given the serious illness protection shown in the new data set as well.

“We need to make sure we emphasize the donut and not the hole,” said Dr. Katherine M. Edwards, a pediatric vaccine specialist at Vanderbilt University.

In their study, Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues analyzed data from 852,384 newly fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 17 years and 365,502 children aged 5 to 11 between December 13, 2021 and January 31, 2022 , the height wave of the ohmron.

The vaccine’s effectiveness against hospitalization decreased from 85 percent to 73 percent in older children. In younger children, the effectiveness dropped from 100 percent to 48 percent. But because few children were hospitalized, there is wide room for error in these estimates.

The numbers are more reliable for preventing infection. The vaccine’s effectiveness against the infection dropped from 66 percent to 51 percent in older children. But in young children it dropped sharply from 68 per cent to just 12 per cent.

The numbers change drastically between the ages of 11 and 12. During the week ending January 30, the vaccine’s effectiveness against the infection was 67 percent in 12-year-olds, but just 11 percent in 11-year-olds.

“The difference between the two age groups is striking,” said Florian Kramer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The biological difference between the two ages is likely to be minimal, but 12-year-olds who got 30 micrograms of the vaccine — the same dose given to adults — 11-year-olds got only 10 micrograms, he said.

“This is very interesting because it would almost suggest that it is the dosage that makes the difference,” he said. “The question is how to fix it.”

See also  These Foreign Fighters Are Joining the Battle of Ukraine

There have been at least 851 deaths from COVID-19 in children under the age of 17, and nearly 7,000 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19. More children were hospitalized during the omicron surge than at any other point in the pandemic.

The findings underscore the need to gather more information about the best dosage, number and timing of shots to be given to children, Dr. Rosenberg said. He said he also outlined vaccines as a measure of protection against the virus, along with masks and social distancing.

Dr. Rosenberg’s research was posted just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations that would allow most Americans, including in schools, to stop wearing masks.

The new data also raises important questions about the Biden administration’s strategy for vaccinating children. Only one in four children aged 5 to 11 have received two doses of the vaccine. (The CDC has not yet recommended a booster dose for this age group.)

The vaccine is not yet authorized for children under the age of 5. Scientific advisors to the Food and Drug Administration were to meet on February 15 to evaluate two doses of the vaccine for the youngest children, while three doses were still being tested. But the meeting was postponed after Pfizer submitted additional data that suggested the two doses were not strongly protective against the Omicron version of the virus.

Doctor. Rosenberg, with the findings in early February, directed the agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Valensky, informed top CDC officials. FDA leaders learned about the data at about the same time. Some federal scientists insisted on making the data public ahead of an FDA expert meeting on February 15, considering it highly relevant to discussions about dosage in children under the age of 5, according to federal officials and others. asked to get acquainted with its reactions.

The data is generally in line with a UK report showing that the vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic infections in adolescents aged 12 to 17 drops by 23 per cent after two months. According to people familiar with the agency’s plans, the CDC is compiling its own data on the vaccine’s effectiveness in young children and expects to release at least some as early as this week.

Israeli researchers have also been assessing the vaccine’s performance in young children since the country made it available in November.

“We continue to study and assess real-world data from vaccines,” Pfizer spokeswoman Amy Rose said in response to questions about the new data.

Dr. Philip Krauss, who recently retired from the FDA as a senior vaccine regulator, said assumptions about some antibody levels are being speculated to warrant re-evaluating vaccine effectiveness in light of the new results. Needed.

“It certainly undermines the logic of giving people that low dose,” he said.

It is not uncommon for specialists to revisit dosages and intervals for pediatric vaccines as more evidence becomes available. But in this case, giving children a higher dose to speed up the immune response may not be an option because some data suggests it can cause very high fevers, an unwanted and potentially dangerous side effect in young children. could.

See also  US adds 'kamikaze drones' as more weapons flow into Ukraine

There are other options that can improve immunity in young children, said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona.

Pfizer and BioNTech are testing a third dose in children younger than 5 years, as well as children 5 to 11 years old, with the idea that, as in adults, an additional shot can significantly increase immunity. The results of these tests are expected in several weeks. Studies in adults show that three doses of the vaccine were more protective against the Omicron variant than two doses.

Dr. Bhattacharya said that he and his wife took their children, who are 8 and 10, at eight-week intervals instead of the three currently recommended, based on studies suggesting a longer gap between doses. can improve security. The CDC last week encouraged some people over the age of 12, especially boys and men between the ages of 12 and 39, to wait eight weeks between the first and second shots.

Another option may be a version of the vaccine designed to thwart the Omicron variant, or one that may contain a mixture of several variants. Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are all testing Omicron-specific versions of their vaccines.

The next version could differ widely from Omicron, as did Omicron from the Delta version. But training the body to recognize multiple versions will still provide a better chance of preventing infection with new forms of the virus. “Determining when and how to update these vaccines, I think, is still a really important conversation,” Dr Bhattacharya said.

Newer vaccines that use different methods than those currently authorized in the United States may also work better for children. A protein-based vaccine made by Novavax is being reviewed at the FDA, and drug companies Sanofi and GSK said this month that they plan to submit their vaccine for evaluation soon.

Many parents want to vaccinate their children to prevent spreading the virus to vulnerable relatives, to keep them in school, or to avoid the possibility of long-lasting symptoms that can occur even after a mild infection. . Experts acknowledge that the vaccine’s low effectiveness against infection does not reduce those concerns.

Still, vaccines “offer more protection than we thought,” said Jessica Andreesson, a vaccine data specialist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“They can also make it so that your child who brings home Covid doesn’t shed the virus as much as they would if they weren’t vaccinated, and they could have it for a shorter period of time,” she said.

The virus is here to stay, and the risk of serious consequences for children increases with age. That’s why it’s a good idea to vaccinate children early, said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an FDA advisor.

“When I talk to them about this vaccine, I argue with parents that your kids are going to grow up,” he said. “They need to be protected from this virus for years.”

Sharon Lafrenier and Isabel Kershner contributed reporting.

#Pfizer #shot #effective #children #aged #older #children #data #shows

About the author


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: