Infectious Disease

Field study confirms efficacy of Pfizer vaccine in adolescents

January 12, 2022

2 minutes read

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Disclosure:
Edwards reports that he serves on data security and oversight boards for Moderna, Pfizer, PPD Development and Sanofi. The relevant financial information of all authors can be found in the study.

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A real-world study conducted in more than 30 US hospitals showed that Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine was 94% effective at preventing hospitalization for COVID-19 in adolescents ages 12 to 18.

The study, conducted while Delta was the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variant, also showed that the vaccine was 98% effective in preventing both ICU admission and the need for life support. All seven deaths that occurred among the more than 1,200 adolescents who took part in the study occurred in unvaccinated participants.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective in a real-world study of US adolescents. Source: Adobe Stock

The study provided “impressive evidence” of the vaccine’s effectiveness in adolescents, a member of the editorial board of Healio Pediatrics Kathryn M. Edwards, MD, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

“These extremely encouraging data indicate that nearly all hospitalizations and deaths in this population could have been prevented by vaccination,” wrote Edwards, chief scientist of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program.

Researchers conducted a case-controlled, test-negative study that included 445 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 disease and 777 patients hospitalized with non-COVID disease. Only 17 case patients (4%) and 282 control patients (36%) were fully vaccinated.

Of the case patients, 180 (40%) were admitted to the ICU – only two were fully vaccinated – and 127 (29%) required life support, the researchers reported.

They calculated the overall vaccine efficacy against hospitalization for COVID-19 to be 94% (95% CI, 90%-96%). Efficacy was calculated as 95% (95% CI, 91% – 97%) in the test negative controls and 94% (95% CI, 89% – 96%) in the syndrome negative controls.

Researchers called for “post-approval efficacy monitoring” of vaccines “to understand vaccine performance in real-world settings.”

“Vaccine coverage may differ among adolescents with underlying conditions that are overrepresented in hospitalizations and are often excluded from clinical trials,” they wrote. “The effectiveness of the vaccine against new variants and depending on the interval since vaccination could also vary.

In her editorial, Edwards said it was “disturbing that fewer than 39% of adolescents in the control group had been immunized against COVID-19, despite uniform eligibility and widespread access to vaccines.”

“It’s also very problematic that three-quarters of the case patients had underlying conditions, that a disproportionate percentage were either Black (24%) or Hispanic (25%), and that almost half of the patients were enrolled in Southern states where immunization rates were administered.” in adolescents are lagging behind,” Edwards wrote.

References:

Edwards KM. N Engl J Med 2022; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2118471.

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