SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Disappointed is the word Upstate Medical University’s pediatric infectious disease expert used to describe the latest New York State Department of Health study. 

“I’m concerned that it’s conveying the wrong message.”

Dr. Joseph Domachowske, Upstate Medical University Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert

Dr. Joseph Domachowske said the report showed vaccine efficiency for 5-11-year-olds decreased from 68% to 12% during the Omicron wave. 

Dr. Domachowske said the numbers are misleading because of the data the State Department of Health used. They looked at COVID-19 test results for kids ages 5-11 and their vaccination status during a few weeks at the height of the Omicron variant. 

Dr. Domachowske said this data doesn’t account for symptoms the children were or weren’t feeling or how transmissible to variant was, infecting many people who were vaccinated but not sending them to the hospital.

The hospitalization data in the report was more complying Dr. Domachowske said as it showed the vaccine’s ability to keep kids out of the hospital. 

“That part of the report is very reassuring and I think really validates continuing with our current strategy to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” he said. 

He said the true testament of the vaccine’s effectiveness will come from the Pfizer pediatric clinical trial he’s been leading for months. Dr. Domachowske said using a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial is the best way to gather accurate information about how effective a vaccine is and whether its protection is waning over time. 

“If we had just waited another 4-5 weeks the true answer will be available and would have been available rather than scaring folks by saying this vaccine is only 12% effective. I think that number is way too low, I think it really underestimates how well we’re doing with our current vaccine strategy.”

Dr. Joseph Domachowske, Upstate Medical University Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert

Dr. Domachowske said they’ve started giving participants of the clinical trial third doses to see their immune response, adding it’s likely everyone including  5-11-year-olds will need a third dose of the vaccine to keep their immunity up. 

For now, he’s sending a strong message to the community that vaccines still work and urging people to wait for more data to come out within the next 4-6 weeks from the Pfizer clinical trial.