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Pfizer says 3rd COVID shot for kids under 5 is 80% effective

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Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins the Live show to discuss the effectiveness of Pfizer's third COVID-19 shot for children ages 5 and under.

Video transcript

JARED BLIKRE: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. New data out of Pfizer this morning, the company saying that the three-dose vaccine for children under five is 80% effective. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani is here with us for all the details. Anj.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, Jared. So we have to, of course, put that disclaimer on that this is top line data, so that means that it is just preliminary data showing us that this vaccine is 80% effective for kids under five years old. Of course, this is the much awaited data that we know is going to be compared to Moderna. So let's take a look at what Pfizer told us. They told us that they have this vaccine, which is now three separate doses of three micrograms each for these kids under five. And they separated it into two different cohorts of that under five years old to test. And so that's where they got that details from.

We know that earlier on, in December, they noted that the older group of the two sub cohorts didn't have as effective results. So that's where they decided to add that third dose in. We know that they are looking at good safety and immunogenicity data, so that's really good right now. And the FDA is set to meet on June 8 to look at the Moderna data possibly. And so we might also see this at the same time. So it's now really a neck and neck race between these two companies. The final data from Pfizer is going to be coming in later this week, according to officials.

Now let's look at Moderna by comparison. They have already filed their data. It's under review right now with the FDA. And we know that they looked at two doses of 25 micrograms each. And that is considerably different. They did have a lower efficacy data from that 37% to 51%, so that's going to be interesting to look at when the FDA sort of pans out and looks through this data and sees what is the most effective point to note. That data from Pfizer is against symptomatic cases. And also, both trials took place while Omicron was circulating, so that's really the latest data we have, which is really good.

JULIE HYMAN: Oh, that is really interesting. There has been-- parents have been clamoring for this, right? They want this shot, but if you look at the take-up rate, if you will, the vaccination rate, among kids in the next slice up, where it has been approved, it's not very high. It's, what, not even 1/3, right?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: It is, it's very low. And we also have to remember that the CDC and FDA just authorized boosters for this age group in the five to 11-year-old. So seeing that that slow uptake is also being a concern, we've heard a range of reasons from parents. Even though parents themselves might be boosted, they're concerned about the impacts of an mRNA vaccine, or, just generally, a new vaccine on their kids. And it also has to do with various different reasons, whether it ranges from disinformation to comfort level in general with the healthcare system. So there's a lot going on to unpack on why.

And this is really concerning because we know that kids do have the potential to transmit that disease, right, and to transfer the virus, even if they themselves aren't. And so one of the reasons, too, that we've heard is also some parents believe that kids aren't impacted as much by the virus. So there's still a lot of maybe early on mistakes or early on poor messaging about this virus that kind of seems to be transmitting through. And that's sort of where we're seeing that concern from.

JULIE HYMAN: And just really quickly, what's the timeline look like at this point when we're talking about the youngest cohort?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So like I mentioned, that June 8 meeting, the FDA is actually holding three separate dates on the calendar for their advisory group. June 8 is that first one. Then they also have mid-June, 21st and 22nd [INAUDIBLE]. So if they don't manage to review that data in time, it might be later on. But right now, June 8 is sort of that target date that we're looking at. We've also heard from Moderna that they are going to-- or they're readying to ship out vaccines by early June. So, really, that early June timeline is looking really promising.

JULIE HYMAN: We'll see. Thanks so much. Really appreciate.

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