Dr. Salma Elfaki examines 16-year-old Diego Alvarez, a patient in a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial for adolescents being conducted by Accel Research Sites with Nona Pediatric Center in Orlando, Florida, September 25, 2021.
Paul Hennessy | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
Pfizer’s Covid vaccine is 93% effective at protecting against hospitalization in 12- to 18-year-olds, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a small study released Tuesday.
The CDC followed 464 Covid patients ages 12 to 18 spread across 19 U.S. pediatric hospitals from June through September when the delta variant was surging across the country. While roughly 72% of them had at least one underlying condition that increased their potential for severe symptoms, researchers found that 97% of those who ended up in the hospital weren’t vaccinated.
“These data suggest that increasing vaccination coverage among this group could reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19 in the United States,” CDC researchers wrote in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among the Covid patients, 6 were vaccinated and 173 were unvaccinated. Some 43% required intensive care, and 16% of the critically ill children received life support, with two deaths among the group, according to the study.
The CDC’s findings are similar to the results of a study conducted in Israel, which found that Pfizer’s Covid vaccine was almost 92% effective in preventing hospitalization among 12- to 15-year-old patients. But the Israeli study did not feature enough cases to properly gauge the vaccine’s full effectiveness against Covid hospitalizations, the CDC wrote.
Pfizer is currently waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its shots for children 5 to 11. The company released data in September that indicated its two-dose vaccine regimen yielded a “robust” immune response among the younger pediatric age group, and the FDA could clear the shots later this month.
The CDC reported that 46% of 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S. were fully vaccinated against Covid, while 54% of 16- to 17-year olds had received a complete series of doses as of Monday.