Vaccine ‘Highly Effective’ in Preventing Adolescent COVID-19 Hospitalization

Research By Mary Allen Staat, MD, MPH

Post Date: October 21, 2021 | Publish Date: Oct. 19, 2021

→

The Pfizer-BioNTech-19 vaccine was 93% effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalization among children 12 or older, according to a new study that included Cincinnati Children’s.

Mary Allen Staat, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s who specializes in infectious disease, was one of the co-authors of the study reported Oct. 19 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This evaluation demonstrated that 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were highly effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalization among persons aged 12–18 years,” the authors wrote. “Findings reinforce the importance of vaccination to protect U.S. youths against severe COVID-19.”

The study is important because it assessed real-world COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, which can differ from a clinical trial. In this case, the findings were consistent with efficacy data from the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial among adolescents ages 12–15 years that was conducted at the Gamble Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s and other sites, which found an observed vaccine efficacy of 100%. (Staat is not part of the Gamble Vaccine Research Center, and the new real-world study was not done by the Gamble Center.)

The real-world study involved 464 people hospitalized at 19 pediatric hospitals across 16 states, ranging from June 1 to Sept. 30, 2021, when the Delta variant was predominant.

That included 179 COVID-19 case-patients and 285 controls. Among the 179 COVID-19 case-patients, six (3%) were vaccinated and 173 (97%) were unvaccinated, the study noted.

Overall, 77 case-patients (43%) were admitted to an intensive care unit, and 29 critically ill case-patients (16%) received life support during hospitalization, which included invasive mechanical ventilation, vasoactive infusions, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Two of these 29 critically ill patients died, the study noted.

“All 77 case-patients admitted to the intensive care unit, all 29 critically ill case-patients, and both deaths occurred among unvaccinated case-patients,” the study’s authors reported. “Among 169 case-patients with available hospital discharge data, the median length of hospital stay was 5 days … for unvaccinated case-patients and 3 days … for vaccinated case-patients.”

In early September, U.S. pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations reached the highest level during the pandemic, noted the study, which was titled “Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccination Against COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Persons Aged 12–18 Years — United States, June–September 2021.”

“This evaluation demonstrated that nearly all (97%) persons aged 12–18 years hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated (versus fully vaccinated) and reinforces the importance of vaccination to protect U.S. youths against severe COVID-19,” the study’s authors reported. “As of October 18, 2021, 46% of U.S. children and adolescents aged 12–15 years and 54% of those aged 16–17 years were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

About 72% of those hospitalized had at least one underlying condition such as obesity, and 68% attended in-person school.

The data from the study suggest that increasing vaccination coverage among young people ages 12-18 could reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19 in the United States, the authors stated.

“Further, as in-person school attendance increases, multicomponent preventive measures to reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19 among adolescents, including vaccination, are imperative,” the authors concluded.

 

Publication Information

Original Title:Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccination Against COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Persons Aged 12–18 Years — United States, June–September 2021
Published in:MMWR
Publish date:Oct. 19, 2021

Read the Findings

Research By