Covid News: Biden appeals to Congress for Covid help

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Credit…Emily Elconin for The New York Times

In another twist on the debate over how best to protect children from the coronavirus, researchers reported on Wednesday that Covid vaccines conferred reduced protection against hospitalization in children aged 12 and over during the latest outbreak. Omicron.

Vaccine efficacy against hospitalization remained stable in children aged 5 to 11, however, and in adolescents aged 12 to 18, two doses of the vaccine remained highly protective against serious illnesses requiring assistance. respiratory.

But the effectiveness against hospitalization for less severe illness dropped to just 20% in these children. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The data is broadly consistent with studies showing that, in all age groups, vaccines lost much of their potency against infection with the Omicron variant, but still prevented serious illness and death.

Of the teens in the study who were seriously ill, 93% were unvaccinated and most had at least one underlying condition, Dr. Patel noted. “I think the big take-home message is that with the simple act of vaccinating, you can prevent most serious diseases in most children,” he said.

As of March 23, only approximately one in four children ages 5 to 11, and just over half of teens ages 12 to 17, have been fully vaccinated in the United States. These percentages have barely budged in recent months.

Because relatively few children are hospitalized with Covid, the researchers were only able to identify 1,185 children, comparing them to 1,627 others who did not have Covid. Of those hospitalized with Covid, 291 received respiratory support and 14 died.

The study included data from 31 hospitals in 23 states and spanned July 1 to December 18, 2021, when the Delta variant was circulating, and December 19 to February 17, when the Omicron variant was dominant. During the Delta period, efficacy against hospitalization was over 90% in adolescents up to 44 weeks after vaccination.

When the researchers analyzed the data by disease severity, they found that vaccine effectiveness against severe illnesses in hospitalized adolescents remained high, at 79%, but fell to 20% for less severe illnesses.

The new study is among the first to look at vaccine effectiveness in relation to disease severity in hospitalized patients. It’s possible that this trend could also appear in adult patients, if they were analyzed in the same way, said Eli Rosenberg, deputy director of science at the New York State Department of Health.

“This division between critical and uncritical is interesting,” he said. “It definitely adds a new layer.”

About 78% of all adolescents hospitalized in the study, and 82% of younger children, had one or more underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, autoimmune diseases or respiratory problems, including asthma.

The study suggests the vaccine protected the majority of those children from the worst outcomes, said Dr. Luciana Borio, former acting chief scientist at the Food and Drug Administration.

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