JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 140 million Americans have had COVID-19.
The CDC released new numbers, that show about 43% of the country has already been affected by the virus.
This study really showed how many people got sick from the Omicron variant.
When the CDC did the study in late November, it estimated 103 million people had been affected. This means over the course of two months 37 million more people caught the virus by late January.
For perspective that’s almost equivalent to every person in Florida getting COVID-19, twice.
This comes after Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective as first thought in kids 5-11. But doctors say there are other reasons it’s important for everyone to get the shot.
“What that means is the vaccine was not as effective in kids versus older kids and adults during the Omicron surge, which isn’t entirely surprising,” said Chad Neilsen, UF Health Jacksonville Infectious Disease and Prevention Director.
Neilsen says that’s because kids 5-11 got a smaller dose of the vaccine compared to everyone else.
The study was done by researchers from the New York State Department of Health. It found for kids 5-11 the protection against catching the virus dropped from 68% to just 12%.
Yet, for children 12-17 who got the same dose as adults, effectiveness levels dropped from 66% to 51%
Adriana Cantville’s 7-year-old is immunocompromised and she has no regrets about vaccinating her child.
“Not at all, I sleep easy at night knowing I have done every possible thing to keep them safe and protected,” Cantville said. “God forbid they got Covid and got seriously ill, I would be questioning myself and doubting myself and wishing I could go back in time and say could I have done something to prevent this. I know as a family we’ve done everything we can to protect our kids.”
And while the study revealed the vaccine is not as effective as preventing COVID-19, it showed even at the lower dose Pfizer’s vaccine provided strong protection against a child becoming seriously ill.
Neilsen said there is a worry that parents may now think their children don’t need to get vaccinated.
“I think this data has the potential for parents but that’s where people like me come in and say you have to read the whole paper where they say they were still protected from hospitalizations,” he said.
Which Neilsen says is the main message any parent should take away from this.
At this point, only about 25% of children in the U.S. 5 to 11 have received two doses of the vaccine.
Right now there is no indication whether Pfizer will suggest a booster shot for that age group. But Pfizer has postponed its vaccine application for kids under 5 after it found two doses didn’t work well in that age group.