PHOENIX — Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is proving effective in both adolescents and effective over time.
The companies announced this week that a study found the vaccine is 100% effective against COVID-19 in those aged 12-15.
Another study by the companies is showing people to be 91.3% protected from the virus six months after getting both doses of the vaccine.
Pfizer also announced the vaccine appears to be effective against the variant out of South Africa.
Hope on the horizon for parents
It’s been a year like none other for Becky Williams. She’s a teacher and a parent in Scottsdale.
“It’s been a lot to navigate both from the professional side just all the changes that have happened to the school plans this year and navigating that as a parent for my children,” Williams said.
Williams said her 16-year-old son just got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine a few days ago.
She’s now waiting on the vaccine to be approved for her 14-year-old daughter.
“Of all of us she’s probably the most exposed because in addition to be in school all day, she plays on a softball team so she’s around teammates that come from different schools,” Williams said.
Pfizer said they are hoping to get Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine to be used in 12 to 15-year-olds soon in hopes of starting to vaccinate that age group before the next school year.
Williams said she hopes her kids will get to hug their grandparents again soon. Something they haven’t done since February 2020.
“I think it will just offer more peace of mind that we’re able to do our part to help the community be back to normal,” Williams said.
Arizona scientists say vaccine efficacy will help us navigate out of the pandemic
Dr. David Engelthaler, director at TGen North in Flagstaff, said the results from Pfizer are good news.
“These vaccines have shown to be a really successful technology for generating an immune response,” Engelthaler said.
Adding, while kids are at the lowest risk for severe cases of COVID-19, getting them vaccinated once approval is granted, will help end the pandemic.
“It’s going to allow us to really beat this back to that it’s really a disease in the background,” Engelthaler said.
Engelthaler said results showing that Pfizer’s vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 six months after people have had both shots are extremely promising too.
He expects effectiveness will continue beyond six months.
“We do know that coronaviruses in general, the ones that cause the common cold, will typically have immunity for a year or two,” Engelthaler said. “So that’s quite likely what we’ll see here with the disease as well as with these vaccines.”
Pandemic will end, but COVID-19 likely to stick around
Engelthaler expects the COVID-19 pandemic will end, but the illness will likely stick around and be a virus we have to deal with.
However, Engelthaler said with three effective vaccines granted Emergency Use Authorization, it will help manage the virus.
“I see this as becoming another one of those vaccine-preventable diseases that we get when we’re young and maybe boosters as we get older or maybe we all have to get it on an annual basis,” Engelthaler said “We still don’t’ know all of that yet.”
Engelthaler estimates the flu vaccine is usually 40 percent to 60 percent effective.
Adding, while it may be possible booster shots could be necessary each year for COVID-19, like the flu, the COVID-19 vaccines are setting a high standard for how effective vaccines can be.
“I think we have to set a new threshold for what’s going to be acceptable for vaccines,” Engelthaler said.