COVID-19 Update

COVID Booster Increases Antibody Levels Against Omicron In Kids Ages 5 To 11

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit a request to the FDA for emergency use.

A girl receiving a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which new data from Pfizer suggest signific...
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Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they plan to submit a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11, citing promising data collected from children who received a third dose at least six months after their second dose.

The new data come from a study of 140 children ages 5 through 11 with no evidence of prior COVID-19 infection who had received a third dose of the 10-microgram vaccine.

Researchers looked at a subset of 30 children in this group a month after their third dose and found that antibodies protecting against the Omicron variant were 36 times higher than they were before receiving the third dose. The researchers also noted that antibody levels against the original strain of COVID-19 were six times higher a month after the booster dose than a month after the second dose.

The study did not report any new safety issues among the children in the booster trial. The results, according to a Pfizer news release, "reinforce the potential function of a third dose of the vaccine in maintaining high levels of protection against the virus in this age group.”

During the midst of the Omicron surge, researchers from the New York State Department of Health reported that the standard two doses of the Pfizer vaccine wasn’t effective at protecting against the highly transmissible variant.

However, a followup study from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that while vaccine effectiveness (VE) had dropped during Omicron’s surge and decreased with time post-vaccination, the vaccine dramatically lowered the risk of hospitalization or death.

As of now, no vaccines have been authorized for children under the age of 5. Ongoing trials have been promising, and companies like Moderna have requested FDA EUA for younger children based on positive results.

Vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 were first authorized by the CDC in early November 2021. According to the CDC, there are 28 million American kids in that demographic, and about 10 million of them have received at least one dose of the vaccine.