CDC data finds Pfizer vaccine 93 percent effective against hospitalization for youth

CDC data finds Pfizer vaccine 93 percent effective against hospitalization for youth
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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been found to be 93 percent effective against hospitalization for 12- to 18-year-olds, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research from when the delta variant was predominant. 

Researchers calculated the vaccine efficacy using data from 464 hospitalized patients, including 179 with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and 285 controls without the virus, across 19 pediatric hospitals between June and September. 

The CDC study sought to add to the “limited” real-world data on vaccine effectiveness among 12- to 18-year-olds. It concluded the effectiveness aligned with the results of Pfizer’s previous clinical trial that found a 100 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 among 12- to 15-year-olds.

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Out of the 179 COVID-19 patients, only 3 percent were fully vaccinated, while the vast majority had not had any COVID-19 vaccine doses. Patients who were partially vaccinated were excluded from the study.

Among the unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, 77 were admitted to the intensive care unit, 29 received life support and two died. None of the six vaccinated COVID-19 patients went to the ICU or received life support care.

Almost 60 percent of COVID-19 patients were in the Southern U.S. as the delta strain ravaged the region in the months included in the study, which researchers noted “might limit the representativeness of the sample.”  

The time span also included when U.S. pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations reached their highest point during the pandemic in early September amid the delta strain.

The study supports previous research showing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, including against hospitalizations. Federal health officials have repeatedly said the wide majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across the country in recent months involve unvaccinated individuals. 

Adolescents have the lowest vaccination rates out of the age groups eligible for the vaccine, with 46 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds and 53 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Those 18 to 24 are not far ahead, with almost 54 percent fully vaccinated. 

The Food and Drug Administration has not authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 12 yet, although an advisory group plans to discuss Pfizer’s application for those 5 to 11 next week.