Early study shows Pfizer COVID vaccine 80 percent effective in children

FILE – A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, right, and a vial of the vaccine for adults, which has a different colored label, at a vaccination station in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Pfizer said early Monday that research shows its COVID-19 vaccine is about 80 percent effective for children five years old to six months old after a third dose.

In a second trial study, the pharmaceutical company said the vaccine elicited a strong immune response after a third dose, which showed an 80.3 percent vaccine efficacy rate for children in the age group.

The trial was conducted when the highly transmissible omicron variant was dominant. It involved more than 1,678 children under 5 years of age. Children received a dosage that is one-tenth the level an adult would get.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he is “pleased that our formulation for the youngest children, which we carefully selected to be one-tenth of the dose strength for adults, was well tolerated and produced a strong immune response.”

“These topline safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data are encouraging, and we look forward to soon completing our submissions to regulators globally with the hope of making this vaccine available to younger children as quickly as possible, subject to regulatory authorization,” Bourla added in a statement.

The news comes as the White House is planning to make a decision on COVID-19 vaccines for children five years old and under soon.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha on Sunday said the decision was likely to be made in the next few weeks.

“What I know is that Moderna has completed its application, those data are being looked at very closely right now by FDA experts,” Jha told ABC’s “This Week,” adding the Food and Drug Administration analysis would be finished within a few weeks and then head for review from an expert committee.

The vaccine for children under five has been long awaited, with the chief medical advisor for President Biden, Anthony Fauci, saying recently the inoculation would likely not be available until June.

A poll earlier this month showed parents are divided on vaccinating their youngest children, with more than a third of American parents likely to wait and see how the vaccine works in other children first before inoculating their own.

Last week, the vaccine advisory board for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a COVID-19 vaccine booster for children aged five to eleven years old.

–Updated at 8:11 a.m.


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