Pfizer Vaccine Kept Teens Out of the Hospital for COVID

Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) protected adolescents from severe COVID-19 outcomes, with high effectiveness against hospitalization, ICU admission, and need for life support, a case-control study found.

Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization among adolescents ages 12-18 was 94% (95% CI 90-96), and 98% against both ICU admission and the need for life support, reported Manisha Patel, MD, of the CDC, and colleagues, on behalf of the Overcoming COVID-19 Investigators.

Of the 445 adolescents hospitalized for COVID, only 17 (4%) were fully vaccinated, the authors wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In fact, there were only two fully vaccinated patients in the ICU and all seven deaths were among unvaccinated adolescents, the researchers noted.

“Vaccination averted nearly all life-threatening COVID-19 illness in this age group,” the team concluded.

Patel’s group cited the incidence of pediatric hospitalizations due to the Delta variant in early September 2021 as “an opportunity to evaluate the real-world effectiveness” of the Pfizer vaccine against severe COVID among adolescents and young teens.

This case-control, test-negative study examined data from July 1 to Oct. 25, 2021 among adolescents ages 12-18 at 31 hospitals in 23 states. Case patients were either hospitalized with COVID or had clinical symptoms consistent with COVID, and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 via RT-PCR or antigen testing. Two groups were included as controls: those with COVID-like symptoms who tested negative and those without COVID-like symptoms who may or may not have been tested for SARS-CoV-2.

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