Assessment of Efficacy and Safety of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines in Children Aged 5 to 11 Years: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Evidence of the efficacy and safety of messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 to 11 years has been emerging. Collecting these data will inform clinicians, families, and policy makers. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 to 11 years in a systematic review and meta-analysis. PubMed and Embase databases were searched on September 29, 2022, without language restrictions. Randomized clinical trials and observational studies comparing vaccinated vs unvaccinated children aged 5 to 11 years and reporting efficacy or safety outcomes were included. Studies reporting safety outcomes in vaccinated children only (ie, no control group) were also included. Two investigators independently extracted relevant data from each study. Odds ratios (ORs) for efficacy and safety outcomes and incidences of adverse events (AEs) following vaccination were synthesized using a random-effects model. This study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses and Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology reporting guidelines. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 infections with or without symptoms. The secondary outcomes included symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalizations, and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. The incidences of each AE following vaccination were also evaluated. Two randomized clinical trials and 15 observational studies involving 10 935 541 vaccinated children (median or mean age range, 8.0-9.5 years) and 2 635 251 unvaccinated children (median or mean age range, 7.0-9.5 years) were included. Two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccination compared with no vaccination was associated with lower risks of SARS-CoV-2 infections with or without symptoms (OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.35-0.64), symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.41-0.70), hospitalizations (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.15-0.68), and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (OR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.02-0.10). Two randomized clinical trials and 5 observational studies investigated AEs among vaccinated children. Most vaccinated children experienced at least 1 local AE following the first injection (32 494 of 55 959 [86.3%]) and second injection (28 135 of 46 447 [86.3%]). Vaccination was associated with a higher risk of any AEs compared with placebo (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.26-2.91). The incidence of AEs that prevented normal daily activities was 8.8% (95% CI, 5.4%-14.2%) and that of myocarditis was estimated to be 1.8 per million (95% CI, 0.000%-0.001%) following the second injection. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines among children aged 5 to 11 years were associated with measures of efficacy in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19-related illnesses. While most children developed local AEs, severe AEs were rare, and most of AEs resolved within several days. These data provide evidence for future recommendations.