What is the effectiveness of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines among children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years? [JAMA Network]
Findings In this prospective cohort study including 2959 participants aged 5 to 17 years, vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection was 54.0% and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 49.4%.
Although rates of SARS-CoV-2–related hospitalizations and death among children and adolescents are lower than rates in adults,1 severe disease can still occur and lead to hospitalization, life-threatening complications (such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children),2-5 and postinfection sequelae.6-8 As of December 31, 2023, there have been at least 911 COVID-19–associated deaths among individuals aged 5 to 17 years in the US.9
The Omicron variant was more transmissible and included lineages with greater potential to evade vaccine-induced immunity than previous variants.10-12 To provide protection against the Omicron variant, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which was composed of ancestral and Omicron BA.4/5 strains.13 On September 1, 2022, the bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was recommended for persons aged 12 years or older (to be administered ≥2 months after completion of any monovalent primary series or monovalent booster dose authorized by the Food and Drug Administration), and on October 12, 2022, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine was recommended for children aged 5 to 11 years.14,15