Study suggests Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5-11 is less effective; local health officials and parents respond

NOW: Study suggests Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 5-11 is less effective; local health officials and parents respond

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A new research study out of New York suggests that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids may not be as effective in children ages five to 11 as it is for older kids. While the study has yet to be peer reviewed, the data is raising questions about COVID policies in schools as many districts are changing requirements on social distancing and masks.

Wauwatosa schools are the latest to drop mask requirements for students, and some parents say it was time. "With the way things are, it's a little safer," said Kenneth Wilson.

With cases declining in the area, Wilson says he's comfortable with mask requirements going away. "I feel comfortable as long as they keep watching where things are going," he said.

Other Wauwatosa parents worry that it may be too soon to relax mitigation efforts in schools. "I still find it very troubling, said Sherréa Jones, who is a mother of two school-aged children. She says with the risk of future variants, letting our guards down is a concern.

"I think it puts some children who still want to feel safe by wearing their mask under peer pressure. Being teased or pressured to not wear their mask. I think there still needs to be a culture encouraging children to wear a mask…if that's what makes them feel safe or if that's what they're being encouraged to do at home," said Jones.

Amid new concern over the effectiveness of Pfizer's child vaccine, the CDC released data Tuesday saying the vaccine gave kids over the age of five strong protection against hospitalization and death, even during the omicron surge.

Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County, says the data shows that a layered approach continues to be important. He says the vaccine is just one layer of protection. Masking and distancing are others.

"In kids, where those two doses of vaccine are not as effective as we might hope at preventing infection…even though it prevents severe disease and hospitalization, those other layers remain critical," said Dr. Weston.

Other health officials say the New York study is too small to draw conclusions from and continue encouraging vaccinations.

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