The analysis comes just weeks after Pfizer delayed the Covid vaccine for children under the age of 5. The company is now testing a three-dose primary series as a means of tackling the dominant omicron strain. Those results aren’t expected until midyear.
Still, parents might not have to wait that long, Pfizer’s chief scientist Mikael Dolsten said in an interview. Two doses can still protect against severe disease. This is key as omicron tends to heavily impact the upper airways — a sensitive area for young children.
Younger children are “overrepresented in hospitalizations and some of them have difficult outcomes,” he told Investor’s Business Daily. “That’s also an area where we’re in active dialogue with regulators (regarding) how to move faster to have a potential for including them for vaccination.”
Vaccine Stocks: Childhood Shots Supported
In the January IBD/TIPP Poll, 59% of Americans support vaccinating young children against Covid. One-third of respondents opposed the measure with another 8% unsure. Among those opposed, the majority were people age 25-44 and half characterized themselves as Republicans. Opposition also declined as income and education levels increased.
Today, children as young as 5 can be vaccinated against Covid — a boon for vaccine stocks Pfizer and BioNTech. They have the only Covid shots allowed for children. The Food and Drug Administration also recently allowed booster shots beginning at five months for people age 12 and up.
Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says roughly 67% of people age 5 and up are now fully vaccinated in the U.S. About 40% of adults have also received a booster shot. According to the IBD/TIPP Poll, nearly three-quarters of vaccinated adults — 74% — plan to seek a booster dose.
Still, more than a quarter of people surveyed — 27% — don’t plan to get vaccinated against Covid. Those numbers could hurt vaccine stocks. The majority expressed concern about side effects. Smaller percentages of people said they don’t trust the government or vaccines in general. Others have had Covid or don’t expect to become seriously ill.
It’s important to note, the messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna (MRNA) have been tied to heart inflammation in boys and young men. Johnson & Johnson‘s (JNJ) shot is associated with both clots in women and an immune system disorder.
Omicron Worries Mount
Amid omicron’s spread, close to three-quarters of people in the IBD/TIPP Poll expressed concern the pandemic will worsen in the U.S.
To that end, most people supported mask and vaccine mandates. Overall, 72% of people were in support of masking indoors at offices, restaurants, schools and entertainment venues. More than six in 10 people supported vaccine mandates to travel, attend entertainment venues and go to school. Fewer people were in support of vaccine requirements to attend church or go to stores, restaurants or gyms.
Of those resistant to vaccines, many said they would quit or agree to frequent testing if vaccines become mandated to work. Close to two in 10 people — 21% — said they would seek a Covid shot.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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