Almost 100% of teenagers who need ICU are not vaccinated, research indicates

Almost all teenagers who needed intensive care care for Covid-19 were not vaccinated, according to a study that reinforces the use of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines in young people.

The vaccine prevented 98% of ICU visits and 94% of Covid-related hospitalizations in the study of more than 1,000 teenagers ages 12 to 18 in 23 US states, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. .

Although teenagers can develop serious complications from Covid, it is relatively rare for this to happen, which makes it difficult to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness compared to older adults, leading to some controversy over immunization of younger people.

For example, the data Pfizer submitted to seek vaccine authorization for children ages 12 to 15 did not include enough cases to assess effectiveness in preventing severe Covid.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s research of a network of 31 hospitals is one of the most detailed yet and shows that vaccines can prevent serious complications from Covid in teenagers.

The results demonstrate that “nearly all hospitalizations and deaths in this population could have been prevented with vaccination,” Kathryn Edwards, professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a note accompanying the study.

The work compared 445 teenagers hospitalized with Covid with a control group of 777 hospitalized for other reasons, including those with Covid-like symptoms who tested negative.

It was conducted between July 1 and October 25, 2021, at which time the Pfizer vaccine was widely available for teenagers and the delta variant was dominant. Most of the children hospitalized with Covid who participated in the study were in the south, where the delta wave first affected the US.

Overall, the researchers found that 96% of teenagers hospitalized with Covid and 99% of those receiving life support were not fully immunized. All seven patients who died of Covid and all 13 patients who received a last-minute treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were not vaccinated, the results show.

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About 74% of the teenagers hospitalized with Covid in the study had at least one comorbidity, such as obesity.

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