CDC Says Pfizer Vaccine Effective, Protects Against MIS-C

Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with a Pfizer COVID-19 booster at a booster clinic on October 1, 2021 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

A new study has shown that two doses of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine are highly effective in protecting children aged 12 to 18 from a severe inflammatory condition associated with Covid infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a report released Friday, found that Pfizer vaccinations were 91% effective in protecting teens against multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

The CDC study enrolled 283 hospitalized patients, ages 12-18, at 24 children’s hospitals in 20 states from July to December 2021, when delta was the predominant option. The analysis focused on the 12-18 age group, as Pfizer shots were not available for young children until November.

The CDC noted that the efficacy of the MIS-C vaccine caused by the omicron variant that currently prevails in the United States cannot be determined due to the timing of the study.

MIS-C is a serious medical condition in which various parts of the body become inflamed, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Children usually develop MIS-C two to six weeks after an asymptomatic or mild Covid infection, according to the CDC.

More than 6,000 children have developed MIS-C since May 2020, and 55 of them have died, according to the CDC. Most patients with MIS-C are Hispanic or Black, most are boys and half are between the ages of 5 and 13. Of the known MIS-C cases, 98% have tested positive for Covid, and 2% have been exposed to the virus, according to the CDC.

The CDC study compared 102 hospitalized patients with MIS-C and 181 patients who either tested negative for Covid or had no symptoms. The vast majority of MIS-C patients, 95%, were not vaccinated. None of the five fully vaccinated MIS-C patients required resuscitation, while 39% of unvaccinated MIS-C patients did not require resuscitation.

“This analysis provides supporting evidence that vaccination of children and adolescents provides a high degree of protection against MIS-C and Covid-19, and highlights the importance of vaccinating all eligible children,” concluded the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Children age 5 and older are now eligible for two doses of Pfizer vaccine. Teenagers 12 years of age and older are eligible for a Pfizer booster shot at least five months after the second dose.

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