Health Professional News

Children’s Minnesota expert co-authors new CDC study examining effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine in preventing hospitalization and illness among kids ages 5-17

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine to protect non-immunocompromised kids between ages 5-17 from COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and Emergency Department (ED) and Urgent Care (UC) visits. Dr. Anupam Kharbanda, chief of critical care services at Children’s Minnesota, co-authored the CDC report using data from pediatric COVID-19 patients from health care systems across ten states, including Children’s Minnesota.

While the report found that vaccine effectiveness was lower during the Omicron surge and decreased with time since vaccination; a booster dose restored effectiveness to 81% among adolescents aged 16–17 years. Overall, the two-dose vaccine was 73%–94% effective at protecting against COVID-19–associated hospitalization in 5-17 year-olds.

“That is still strong protection and is more important than whether the vaccine prevented milder illness that resulted in doctor visits,” Dr. Kharbanda told the Star Tribune in a recent interview. “Clearly the vaccine did not work as well during the omicron period … but what is very reassuring is that the vaccine still worked very well to prevent hospitalizations.”

Read the full CDC report here.

About the VISION Network

Dr. Kharbanda is part of the VISION Network; a CDC-funded group of experts in emergency medicine, infectious disease and critical care from hospitals across the United States. The network contributes data on COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness from their individual clinical facilities to publish in CDC studies such as this recent VE report.

Dr. Kharbanda and the VISION Network have also co-authored studies using data from adult patients to examine the COVID-19 boosters’ impact on Omicron/Delta variant hospitalizations, and how immunocompromised adults are less protected from severe COVID-19 outcomes.