WEDNESDAY, Jan. 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine are highly effective against COVID-19-related hospitalization and critical disease in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Samantha M. Olson, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues assessed vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 resulting in hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), use of life-supporting interventions, or death in a case-control, test-negative design. The odds of antecedent full vaccination (two doses of BNT162b2) were compared in 445 case patients versus two control groups (777 controls), including patients with COVID-19-like symptoms but negative results on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 testing (test-negative) and patients without COVID-19-like symptoms (syndrome-negative).

The researchers found that 4 percent of case patients and 36 percent of controls had been fully vaccinated. Of the case patients, 40 and 29 percent were admitted to the ICU and required life support. Only two patients in the ICU were fully vaccinated. The overall effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine was 94 percent against hospitalization for COVID-19, with effectiveness of 95 and 94 percent among test-negative controls and syndrome-negative controls, respectively. Effectiveness was 98 percent against both ICU admission and COVID-19 resulting in receipt of life support. All seven deaths occurred in unvaccinated patients.

“It is distressing that less than 39 percent of the adolescents in the control group had been immunized against COVID-19, despite uniform eligibility and widespread vaccine access,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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