However, most children were kept out of the hospital by the shots.
U.S. health officials Tuesday reported that Covid-19, a vaccine by Pfizer, provided strong protection for children aged 5 and over against death and hospitalization even during the omicron surge which hit them especially hard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data today, a day following a study in New York of children that suggested the vaccine might not be as effective in children aged 5 to 11 years old. This is especially true for milder infections. This data raises the question whether doses for children under 12 may be too small.
The CDC stated that data from several other states shows the issue is not children's ages and dose sizes -- it's omicron. The highly contagious omicron variant of vaccine is generally less effective than older versions of the coronavirus. Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 years old began weeks before the omicron virus began to circulate.
Ruth Link-Gelles, CDC epidemiologist, stated that "as a parent of a very small child, I believe I would do anything to keep them out the emergency department in mid-night." "The data we have shows that the vaccine provides good protection against severe outcomes," Ruth Link-Gelles, CDC epidemiologist, said.
According to pediatricians, the back and forth results can seem confusing. However, parents should understand that shots are the best way to prevent serious illnesses.
"If you're not vaccinated, it's possible to get mild infections. We're going to have to learn how to deal with that," Dr. Paul Offit of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said.
He stated that the New York study was insufficient to draw any conclusions. It also doesn't take into account variables like infections not being counted when children are tested at home rather than in a clinic. He stated that children admitted to his hospital for severe Covid-19 were the ones who are not vaccinated and it is difficult to see.
The CDC reported Tuesday that Covid-19 was responsible for nine deaths in children aged 5-17 between April and January. This compares to 121 deaths in unvaccinated children the same age.
The CDC also examined 10 states' pediatric hospitalizations between April and January. The vaccine was 74 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations among 5- to 11-year olds. Two vaccinated children were admitted to hospital, compared with 59 unvaccinated.
The vaccine proved to be 92 percent to 94% effective in preventing hospitalizations in children aged between 16 and 17 years old. The majority of hospitalizations among adolescents were caused by the older delta variant, and the majority of hospitalizations among those younger than 12 happened during the omicron waves, which began in December.
Tuesday's study found that the vaccine was 51 per cent effective in preventing 5-to-11-year-olds from going to the emergency room. This was similar to the 45 per cent effectiveness of the second dose for 12- to 15 year-olds who had received it months before.
But what about the less serious consequences?
Researchers from New York's state department of health released Monday's report. They analyzed weekly health records from December to January. The height of the omicron wave saw vaccine effectiveness against any Covid-19 infection drop from 68 to just 12 per cent. However, this effectiveness fell to 51 percent among children 12 years and older.
Surprisingly, 12-year-olds seemed to have the highest protection of all ages. Researchers asked if the dose should be reexamined.
The Pfizer shots vaccine is the only one available for U.S. children. Children aged 5-11 get one-third the dose that's given to all others 12 years and older. To increase protection against omicron, all children 12 years and older are urged to receive a booster dose.
Link-Gelles of the CDC said that additional data from 29 states supports omicron's role as the greater factor.
According to new CDC data, unvaccinated 5--11-year-olds in the height of the omicron wave were 1.3 times as likely to get Covid-19 than vaccinated children. The unvaccinated 12--17-year-olds were 1.5 times more likely than their vaccinated peers to get Covid-19 that month.
It is disappointing that the protection against infection doesn't seem to be higher. Additionally, it will take more research to determine if children younger than 5 years old would benefit from a different dosage, according Dr. Richard Besser. He is a pediatrician, president and CEO at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and wasn't part of the new studies.
Pfizer is currently testing a booster dosage for 5- to 11 year-olds.
Besser said that while vaccines may not be dangerous, they can reduce hospitalizations.