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The low-dose version of Pfizer-BioNtech appears to be much less effective at protecting young children against infection than the higher-dose version of the vaccine given to older children and adults, according to a new study.
In all cases, the vaccine was found to provide strong protection against serious diseases. The pre-print study looked at data collected from more than 1.2 million fully immunized children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 from December 13 to January 30.
Researchers from the New York State Department of Health found that the vaccine’s ability to prevent children from catching the virus who received the lowest dose – children ages 5 to 11. – had fallen the most, from 68% to just 12%. These children received an injection containing only 10 mg, which is a third of the dose given to older children, adolescents and adults.
Meanwhile, efficacy in children aged 12 to 17, who received the same 30mg dose as adults, showed a smaller decline, from 66% to 51%.
“These findings highlight the potential need to investigate alternative dosing of vaccines for children and the continued importance of layered protections, including mask-wearing, to prevent infection and transmission,” the report says. study.
The study results come just days after the CDC relaxed masking guidelines in many parts of the country, and on the same day, several school districts, including New York City — the nation’s largest — announced that Student mask mandates would soon be lifted.
This also follows an unexpected delay in the approval process for an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 6 months to 4 years of age. The company said new data had emerged and the Food and Drug Administration said it needed more time to evaluate it.