New study: COVID vaccines rapidly lose effectiveness in children 5-11
New study: COVID vaccines rapidly lose effectiveness in children 5-11

New study: COVID vaccines rapidly lose effectiveness in children 5-11

Parents in Utah are advised not to overreact to one new study from New York, which shows that it took just over a month for the COVID-19 vaccine to offer children aged 5-11 years virtually no protection against getting the virus, while it was less than 50% effective in keeping them out of the hospital.

“This is a study. Science is very much something where it is important to look at many pieces of information before we draw conclusions that directly affect what we should do,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen on Tuesday, adding that she wants to see what happens elsewhere before accepting the results.

“Do not take this as an absolute fact,” she said. “Take this as good information that we really need to investigate further.”

Nolen said the Utah Department of Health continues to recommend parents get theirs children vaccinated against COVID-19, though the state is moving toward treating the virus more like the flu or other endemic disease that remains fatal but is less prevalent.

“It’s always good to be prepared,” she said, too another wave of COVID-19, which is “pretty safe” to hit at some point.

And although data from New York suggests that the vaccines may not stop young children from getting the virus, Nolen said “fortunately, they still have reasonable protection against hospitalization. We know that’s what we’re really aiming for, right? We want to keep children out of the hospital. “

The study, published Monday by doctors and researchers at the New York State Department of Health and University at the Albany School of Public Health in New York, found that the vaccine’s protection against COVID-19 infections declined in fully vaccinated children aged 5 years. -11 years. from 68% in mid-December to only 12% by the end of January.

When it came to preventing hospitalization during increase of the incredibly transferable omicron variant of the virus in the same time period, the two reduced doses of the Pfizer vaccine approved for that age group decreased in effectiveness from 100% to 48%.

For fully vaccinated adolescents and adolescents aged 12-17, the study showed that the decline in vaccine effectiveness in these weeks was not so sharp, with protection against infection decreasing from 66% to 51% and protection against serious disease decreasing from 85% to 73% .

A large difference in the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection between the ages of 11 and 12 – the study found in the week ending 30 January that it was down to 11% for 11-year-olds versus 67% for 12-year-olds – suggests the size of dose can be a problem. Children 5-11 receive 1/3 of the dose given to those 12 years of age and older.

The new data follow disappointing results from clinical trials with an even smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children under 5 years of age. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration exposed a decision on whether the shots should be approved for children as young as 6 months old until a study on the need for a third dose is completed.

Nolen said it is always a challenge to determine the correct dose for children, and both the new study and the clinical trials support looking at whether the amount of vaccine should be adjusted for younger children and booster shots offered. Currently, booster shot are only available to those aged 12 and over.

Her problems with the New York study include what she said is a greater likelihood that children vaccinated against the virus will be tested if they show symptoms, possibly skewed results, as well as the results of home test not included as they have not been reported to the government.

COVID-19 vaccinations have declined in Utah since the peak of the omicron rise here, where cases rose by about 13,000 a day and test sites were so overwhelmed that Governor Spencer Cox urged most Utahns with symptoms to skip the cotton swab and just stay home until they felt better.

Currently, 61% of all Utahns are fully vaccinated, which means that it is two weeks or more since their first series of shots – two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. However, only 27% of Utah children ages 5-11 have received both doses of Pfizer, the only choice in the United States for those under 17.

Nolen said there is always a concern that questions raised about the effectiveness of vaccines in children could retain parents from planning their shots.

“We want to make sure people see that there is still a benefit,” she said, describing the latest study as an example of being transparent about vaccines. “We’re not hiding data. We’re not trying to influence people’s understanding. It’s out there.”


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