Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) says that its COVID-19 vaccine dose for kids is 91% effective at avoiding symptomatic cases in children aged 5 to 11 years. The result was disclosed Friday in a study as part of the U.S. government’s intention to include this age group in the vaccination plan.
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Final Decision Awaits
As reported by the Associated Press, inoculation could start in early November “with the first children in line fully protected by Christmas if regulators give the go-ahead.”
Key results of the Pfizer study became available on the internet earlier today, but the Food and Drug Administration is expected to disclose findings of its independent review on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
“Advisers to the FDA will publicly debate the evidence next week. If the agency ultimately authorizes the shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the final decision on who should receive them.”
Pfizer's research tracked 2,268 boys and girls in that age group who received two injections three weeks apart –either a placebo or the low-dose vaccine. Each dose was one-third of the amount given to adolescents and adults.
The researchers calculated that the low-dose vaccine was almost 91% effective, based on 16 cases of COVID-19 in young people who received sham injections versus three cases among vaccinated boys and girls.
No serious illnesses were reported while those who were vaccinated had much milder symptoms than their unvaccinated counterparts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this week that even as the delta variant increased between June and September, Pfizer vaccines were 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations among 12-18-year-olds.
Low-dose shots on kids turned out to be safe, with similar or minor temporary side effects such as arm pain, fever, or malaise experienced by teens.
The study is not large enough to detect extremely rare side effects, such as inflammation of the heart that occurred in minimal cases of young men after the second dose.
“While children are at lower risk of serious illness or death than older people, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans age 18 and younger, according to the CDC.”
The Associated Press reports that almost 6.2 million children have been infected, more than 1.1 million in the past six weeks.