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CDC Study: Original COVID-19 Vaccines Show Decreased Protection Against Hospitalization in Children

A recent study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed concerning findings regarding the effectiveness of the original COVID-19 vaccines in preventing hospitalization among children. According to the study, children who initially received two or more doses of the original Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines experienced a significant decline in protection against hospitalization just months after vaccination.





The research, led by CDC epidemiologist Laura Zambrano and her colleagues, highlights a notable decrease in vaccine effectiveness over time. Initially, children aged 5 to 18 exhibited a 52 percent protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization following vaccination. However, this protection sharply declined to 19 percent after four months post-vaccination.


Similarly, the study observed a decline in protection against critical illness, with effectiveness dropping from 57 percent to 25 percent over the same period. Critical illness was defined in the study as requiring interventions such as mechanical ventilation, vasoactive infusions, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), or resulting in death.


The study, published in the CDC's weekly digest on April 18, analyzed data from the Overcoming COVID-19 Network, which encompasses healthcare facilities across the United States. The researchers examined 1,551 children hospitalized with acute COVID-19 who tested positive for the virus and compared them to a control group of 1,797 children hospitalized with COVID-19-like symptoms but tested negative for the virus.

Laura Zambrano emphasized that while receiving two or more doses of the original COVID-19 vaccines initially reduced the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in children and adolescents, this protection was not sustained over time. The findings underscore the evolving nature of the pandemic and the need for ongoing evaluation of vaccine effectiveness, particularly in younger age groups.


The study's outcomes raise important questions about the long-term efficacy of the original COVID-19 vaccines in pediatric populations. As new variants continue to emerge and the virus evolves, public health officials and policymakers may need to reassess vaccination strategies for children to optimize protection against severe illness and hospitalization.


This study adds to the growing body of research aimed at understanding the dynamics of COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in different populations and underscores the importance of continued surveillance and adaptation of vaccination efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, especially among vulnerable groups like children.

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