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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 12% effective against Omicron in kids 5-11, study finds

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins the Live show to report new findings on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Going on health care, Pfizer's COVID 19 vaccine is much less effective in preventing infection in children ages 5 to 11 years than adolescents or adults says a new study. Yahoo Finance senior health care reporter, Anjalee Khemlani, is here with the details. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, Brian. The study out of New York really confirming what the company had sort of indicated in December when it also notified us really that the vaccine for those under 5 years old was going to be delayed as they look to a third dose. In a statement, the company has said that our updates earlier this year on pursuing a three-dose schedule for the pediatric population were informed by the effectiveness data for three doses of the vaccine for people 16 years and older and the early laboratory data observed with Delta and other variants of concern, including immigrants. So they're right there they're saying that they already had an indication looking at the older population by comparison that the dosage was not effective against infection. And that's a really important point to point out because it's infection not severe disease.

We also did see some reduced efficacy against hospitalization as we saw in the adult group. Right now they are already working on those pediatric booster studies including looking at a study for those from 6 months to 5 years which we know about, as well as an additional dose for those from 5 to 12 years old, and from 12 to 17 years old. And looking at the different dosages for that adolescent age group, as well. And this is all really important to understand because it really brings to light, you know, the struggle of finding that right dosage for younger individuals.

We know that in large part, especially for the youngest cohort, the dosages are done by weight. And it seems like in their attempt to try and get this dosing right for safety, they may have not been able to find the right dosing for greater efficacy. Of course, we know that even within the adult population we saw that reduced efficacy as we saw with the surging cases through that Omicron's wave that we just got out of as well as hospitalization and death. So it's important to point out that this is not unique to the age cohort. However, it is concerning. As we know Pfizer is the only option right now for that age group. So that's the reason for the concern while we wait to hear back from these additional doses.

And of course, right now we're looking at stagnating vaccinations across the country as we've come out of this wave. Simultaneously, the lifting of mask mandates and guidance from the CDC suggesting that 70% of the population of the US is now in lower medium risk zones. And that includes over on the West Coast, where we saw California, Oregon, and Washington state announce removing masking in schools by March-- on March 12. And so that joins New York, which also announced by March 7th they would do the same. And this is all sort of coalescing to be a concerning pediatricians and other health experts are concerned about the impact of these two headlines together. So we'll have to wait and see how experts and officials handle this news. Back to you.

BRIAN SOZZI: Anjalee Khemlani, thanks so much.