Three doses of COVID-19 vaccine protect children under 5 — says Pfizer

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Pfizer has confirmed that three doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offer strong protection for children younger than 5.

The company disclosed this on Monday following plans to give the data to U.S. regulators later this week in a step toward letting the littlest kids get the shots. The news follows months of waiting by parents to vaccinate their babies and preschoolers.

The Food and Drug Administration has begun evaluating data from rival Moderna, which hopes to begin offering two kid-sized shots by summer.

Pfizer aims to give tots just one-tenth of the amount adults receive. However, it was discovered during its trial that two shots didn’t seem quite strong enough for preschoolers. So researchers gave a third shot to more than 1,600 children aged 6 months to 4 years during the winter surge of the omicron variant.

Pfizer, together with its partner BioNTech said in a press release that the extra shot did the trick.

The companies said that preliminary data suggested the three-dose series is 80% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 but they cautioned the calculation is based on just 10 cases diagnosed among study participants by the end of April.

The study rules state that at least 21 cases are needed to formally determine effectiveness, and Pfizer promised an update as soon as more data is available.

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