March 10, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COVID-19 VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING RISK OF SEVERE DISEASE IN YOUTH AGES 5-17 YEARS
A report released March 1 demonstrates that vaccines are effective in reducing risk of severe disease in youth ages 5-17 years. The study the VISION Network, a group of health care providers, compares COVID-19 in vaccinated and unvaccinated youth. COVID-19 boosters are recommended to increase vaccine effectiveness in adolescents aged 12-17 years. Boosters are likely needed for children aged 5-11 years. Data from the Network demonstrates that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in decreasing disease severity in youth, but like the adult vaccine, benefits from a booster dose.
Researchers looked at 39,217 youth across the country. They found that 28% of the unvaccinated made visits to the emergency department or urgent care. Only 11% of vaccinated youth used health services. Over 1.2% of unvaccinated youth were hospitalized. While 0.3% of vaccinated youth required hospital care. The report went further to look at vaccine effectiveness overtime in three groups of vaccinated youth who had contracted COVID-19: • Adolescents 16-17 years of age who were eligible for the primary series throughout the study and became eligible for the booster dose in December 2021. • Adolescents 12-15 years of age who were eligible for the primary series beginning in May 2021 and became eligible for the booster dose in January 2022. • Children 5-11 years of age who were eligible for the primary vaccination series between November 2021 and January 2022. The analysis took place between April 2021 and January 2022. As noted above, the different age groups could receive their primary vaccine doses at different times. A booster is not currently available for the youngest group.
Vaccine effectiveness for ages 12-15 and 16-17 was strong within 14-149 days after the second dose but lowered 150 days or more postvaccination. A booster dose increased effectiveness to original levels in adolescents 16-17 years of age.
Vaccine effectiveness for all ages decreased due to the highly infectious Omicron variant. The effectiveness of vaccines for children ages 5-11 has only been measured during the Omicron wave. Considering the high rate of infection, the vaccines were still effective in reducing the number of medical visits and hospitalizations. Still vaccines were 46% and 38% effective in preventing emergency and urgent care visits in children aged 5-11 years and 12-15 years, respectively. COVID-19 vaccines were 74% and 73% effective in preventing hospitalization in persons aged 5-11 years and 12-15 years, respectively.
The VISION Network is a group of 306 emergency departments and urgent care clinics and 164 hospitals, including HealthPartners in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The full analysis is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7109e3.htm?s_cid=mm7109e3_w.