FACT FINDERS: How effective is the COVID vaccine in kids?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A new study is out showing just how well the COVID vaccine works against Omicron in kids. The results are not what parents wanted to hear.

A study out of New York found Pfizer’s COVID vaccine provided very little protection against omicron in kids ages 5 to 11.

Here is how it performed before and after Omicron. It found the two doses dropped from 68% to 12% at preventing illness. In preventing severe disease and hospitalizations, that dropped from 100% to 48%.

We should note, this study is not yet peer reviewed. However, its results may make some parents more hesitant to get their kids vaccinated.

Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center says the messaging is still the same to get your kids the shot.

”It’s a very safe vaccine. That has certainly not called into question at all by this study or any other studies and even a moderate amount of protection is still far better protection than getting the disease itself naturally,” said Dr. Elliott.

He says getting your child vaccinated is not just for their safety but for others they are around who may be at higher risk for severe disease.

He says one thing this study did not look at is how contagious vaccinated kids are if they have a breakthrough case. Dr. Elliott says vaccinated teens and adults are far less contagious and the same could be true for vaccinated kids.

So, what is next for making the vaccine more effective for kids? Dr. Deepa Bhattacharya with the University of Arizona says they could increase the dose or possibly add a booster.

”A third dose is being tested and that can often times actually have lower side effects than even what you get in the second dose and so we’ll see. That should come in the next few weeks or so I’m hoping. And, I fully expect that it will bump up protection against things like Omicron,” said Dr. Bhattacharya.

He says scientists are also working on updating our vaccine since it is aimed at a variant that no longer circulates.

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