The Pfizer vaccine, the first one produced and approved for use in the fight against the coronavirus, has shown remarkable efficacy in trials with 12-15 year old teenagers, with 100% effectiveness noted thus far.
The spectacular news comes as the vaccine is poised to become the first approved inoculation for emergency use by the FDA.
Just as notably, Pfizer also disclosed on Thursday that its shot is spectacularly effective against some of the most prevalent variants as well.
The company recently released the preliminary results of its study of 2,260 United States volunteers age 12 through 15, showing there were zero cases of Covid-19 contracted among fully vaccinated children.
The result was compared against the outcome of a control group receiving a placebo shot, in which 18 subjects developed the virus.
The news is extraordinarily welcome for those who have children suffering from a host of diseases, including cancer — who have waited with great difficulty for the shot to be approved for children.
Heather Ousley, the mother of a 13-year-old son who is battling a rare liver cancer, says that day cannot come soon enough, breaking into tears when she heard that he and his cohorts will most likely be able to begin receiving the precious vaccine soon.
“This day is the best day in the history of days!!! I love this day!!!” she texted as she joined other parents of ill children who have been praying for the time when the FDA would authorize the use of the inoculation.
Pfizer Vaccine shows extraordinary effectiveness against infection
All her children have been learning remotely from home ever since the beginning of the pandemic.
Ousley, the president of the school board for the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas, says her 13 and 15-year-old children will be vaccinated promptly — and then be treated to some ice cream.
She says “I don’t even think we realized how much energy is spent on worrying until we are able to set aside the worry, and then thinking about what this means for all the kids in this district,” she told interviewers from the Associated Press.
The US Center for Disease Control noted that as soon as youngsters are fully vaccinated this summer, they will be allowed to remove their masks when they attend summer camp.
The CDC is also hoping that extending the vaccine to young teens will bring down the infection rates overall, which remain stubbornly high despite the success of the vaccine rollout in the older population.
In Erie County, New York, vaccine clinics with Prom themes have been held recently, featuring one with a tropical atmosphere, with healthcare workers wearing grass skirts. The sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds went home inoculated — and with swag bags full of masks and hand sanitizer. Similar events are being planned for the younger set just as soon as the shot is given the green light by the FDA.
The impetus to vaccinate as many young people as possible is surely driven in large part by the fears over the prevalence of the many variants around the country. However, Pfizer disclosed that so far, its studies have shown that its shot is extraordinarily effective against the mutations that continue to circulate amongst the population.
The studies, which come out of the use of the vaccine after the spectacular successful rollouts in Qatar and Israel, suggest that the shot can indeed prevent the worst outcomes — including death — caused by B.1.1.7, the so-called British variant, as well as the South African variant, B.1.351.
Vaccine very powerful against variants
Dr. Annelies Wilder-Smith, an infectious disease researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine states to the New York Times “This is really good news. At this point in time, we can confidently say that we can use this vaccine, even in the presence of circulating variants of concern.”
It had been the working supposition that the vaccines did indeed fight the variants nearly as well as the original coronavirus strain, but that had yet to be scientifically proven.
According to the new studies, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the promising conclusions were drawn from the clinical histories of more than 200,000 people who had received the inoculation in Qatar between February 1 and March 31.
Researchers found that the vaccine was between 87 to 89.5 percent effective at preventing infection with the British variant among those who were fully vaccinated. In even more promising news, they found that it was nearly as effective with the more stubborn South African variant, preventing infection by as much as 72.1 to 75 percent in those who were fully vaccinated.
The vaccine was considered “highly effective” at protecting against not just death but severe pneumonia as well.
The extraordinarily positive findings showed that it was 97.4 percent effective at preventing severe, critical or fatal disease after the contraction of any form of the coronavirus. It was 100 percent effective at preventing severe, critical or fatal disease caused by either the British or the South African variant.
The British medical journal the Lancet published the results of the second study, which was conducted by Pfizer alongside researchers at Israel’s Ministry of Health. That study was based on more than 230,000 instances of coronavirus infection occurring in Israel between Jan. 24 and April 3 of this year.
At that time, the British variant was responsible for almost 95 percent of all coronavirus cases in the country, which by now has vaccinated more than half of its population.
The vaccine was more than 95 percent effective in protecting users against infection, hospitalization and death among all those who had been fully vaccinated. For those subjects who were 85 or older, the vaccine proved to be more than 94 percent effective at preventing infection, hospitalization and death.