Expert on waning efficacy of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in school-age children |

Expert on waning efficacy of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in school-age children

Patrick Moussignac
Created: February 28, 2022 11:22 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) is now reporting the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in school-age children is on the decline. In fact, it's been a lot lower for kids 5 to 11 during the omicron wave.

News10NBC heard from a local doctor who explains what's being done, and if a third shot is actually necessary.

The big question doctors are trying to answer right now is: Does the vaccine need to be adjusted for the two groups that are below the age of 18 as different variants emerge?

"Half the kids were prevented from serious disease. A positive test could be asymptomatic. A positive test, or case could be a runny nose," said Golisano Children's Hospital Dr. Stephen Cook.

He does confirm that the Pfizer vaccine became less effective for school-aged children when the omicron variant emerged, but Cook said the data also shows what is sometimes overlooked.

"The vaccine was 50% effective in preventing hospitalization in those younger kids which is better than any other medicine, or anything else we have," Cook said.

Oftentimes, Cook said there's a reason why positive cases have been found in vaccinated children.

"Parents then let them kind of go and do everything knowing omicron, well not knowing how exactly omicron would spread, but subsequently we've seen omicron spread much faster," Cook said.

He said doctors are now looking at different options such as spreading out the doses, giving children a higher dose, or maybe even a three-dose series, which is currently unavailable to those under 18.

"So in each of those age groups it is a matter of very quickly testing some doses, looking to see if there are side effects and see if there's an immune response, and then trying to optimize, and say okay we think this is the best one, and let's do a bigger study with that," Cook said.

There's some good news that Monroe County Executive Adam Bello shared on Monday. 

"I mean honestly we've just been over the last several weeks on a very good trajectory with our numbers. All the key indicators are going down. The number of cases are going down. New hospital admissions, day to day are going down," Bello said.

Pediatricians still recommend vaccines for all children over the age of 5 to prevent both severe illnesses and hospitalization.

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