Two studies, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine and the other, the CDC's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), find that vaccination against COVID-19 effectively protects children and adolescents aged 12-18 years from both infection and severe disease. Both papers cover periods when the more transmissible Delta variant was dominant. Paediatrician Ángel Hernández Merino assesses these results.
Vaccination against COVID-19 protects against infection and severe disease between the ages of 12 and 18 years / Adobe Stock.
Pediatrician and collaborator of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics and the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics
I find them interesting, as they shed some light on the effectiveness of vaccinating adolescents with Comirnaty, for which there is very little data so far.
Another reason for the interest of both publications (Reis in NEJM and Olson in MMWR) is that they are done in a time period (June to September 2021) in which the delta variant was predominant in the countries where they were carried out.
With different designs, both studies show results along the same lines, the high protection provided by the full two-dose regimen:
- In the case of Reis in NEJM (observational study): 90 % and 93 % against infection and symptomatic covid, respectively.
- For Olson in MMWR (case-controls): 93% against hospitalisation and severe disease.
It is also noteworthy that the results in adolescents do not deviate from those found in the older population, from 16-18 years of age, for which there is already abundant information.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the duration of protection in adolescents will be different from that in older adolescents, in whom a reduction in serum antibody levels over time has been observed, although not in protection against serious disease. This question, and also for the general population, is still very much in its infancy, and clarifying the duration of protection in adolescents will take even longer.