Pfizer vaccine 90% effective in warding off COVID in adolescents

The study compared nearly 95,000 adolescents who received the vaccine against the same number who did not, finding similarities and differences.

A vial of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen as medical staff are vaccinated at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN/FILE PHOTO)
A vial of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen as medical staff are vaccinated at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN/FILE PHOTO)

The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective against preventing coronavirus in adolescents, a new Israeli study published overnight Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine showed.

The research, which focused on youth between the ages of 12 and 18, was carried out by Clalit Health Services. It found that the vaccine was 90% effective against warding off infection and 93% effective against stopping symptomatic infection on days seven to 21 after the second dose, even against the Delta variant.

“As Israel embarked on a large vaccination campaign for its adolescents in recent months, this provided us a unique opportunity to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness among adolescents,” Clalit chief innovation officer Ran Balicer said.

The study compared nearly 95,000 adolescents who received the vaccine with the same number who did not, matching their demographic, clinical and other personal characteristics. The research was conducted between June 8 and September 14, when the Delta variant was the most dominant strain in the country.

The US Food and Drug administration approved the emergency use of coronavirus vaccines for people over the age of 12 based on a clinical trial before the Delta variant existed.

 A WOMAN receives a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Tel Aviv in August (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS) A WOMAN receives a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Tel Aviv in August (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

So far, 56% of 12- to 15-year-olds in Israel have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 86.2% of 16- to 19-year-olds have received one dose, according to the Health Ministry.

In the US, 45.7% of 12- to 15-year-olds have received the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as 53.3% of teens 16-18.

A separate study released earlier this week by the CDC showed that the Pfizer vaccine was 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations among 12- to 18-year-olds.

The results of the Israeli study “provide much-needed, real-work evidence to help parents make informed decisions about vaccinating their adolescent children,” Balicer said.