Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

A health care worker preparing a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine dose in New York City on Oct. 21.

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

How it works: Pfizer's study examined 2,268 people from that age group who received a placebo or two shots of a low-dose version of its coronavirus vaccine.

  • It then compared the number of cases among those who received the vaccine and the group that got the dummy shot, discovering that the vaccine was nearly 91% more effective than the placebo.

The big picture: The Biden administration released a plan on Wednesday to "quickly" vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11 after the FDA and CDC authorize a vaccine for that age group.

  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been at least 1.8 million confirmed and reported COVID-19 cases among kids between the ages of 5 and 11 and at least 143 deaths and 8,622 hospitalizations, according to the FDA, citing data from the CDC.

What's next: The FDA is expected to release an independent review of Pfizer's trial data later Friday, according to AP.

  • If the FDA approves Pfizer's EUA application, it will still need authorization from the CDC, meaning large-scale vaccinations for children could begin next month.

Go deeper: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy against COVID, large study shows

Go deeper