SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Days before many children will be taking off their masks in school, two studies say Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids may not work as well as parents and doctors hoped.

KRON4 spoke to infectious disease specialists to help parents understand the new data.

“These are kind of conflicting studies, but I think we can say the effectiveness goes down with time,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi.

Gandhi breaks down new research that says protection from the Pfizer vaccine may fade faster and more dramatically in children under 12 than in other groups.

The first study was from the New York Department of Public Health.

“That the effectiveness of the 5-11-year-old vaccine against infection declined dramatically during the omicron surge. Actually, it went down to 12 percent,” Gandhi said.

A different study was released by the CDC.

“That showed that there was a decline, but it was nowhere near that dramatic,” Gandhi said. “Essentially two doses of the vaccine are not that protective against infection. I think that’s a fair way to put the summary of the studies.”

Gandhi and Dr. John Swartzberg, professor of infectious diseases at UC Berkeley, agree that the vaccine still has benefits.

“The vaccines are still holding up very well in terms of protecting against what’s really critical and that’s hospitalization and death,” Swartzberg said.

Gandhi says there are two reasons she believes children’s vaccine is losing effectiveness more quickly than in adults.

“One it’s a lower dose and it wasn’t high enough, and the second is that we never should have given it 3 weeks apart, we should have given it 8 weeks apart,” Gandhi said.

She says she’s been suggesting more time in between doses for months.

“I did this for my children and I’ve actually written two med page articles since saying we really need to have 8 weeks for children and now the CDC has agreed,” Gandhi said.

Swartzberg is encouraging people not to listen to politicians or public figures but to talk to their doctors.

“I think parents need to talk to their pediatricians about the value of these vaccines,” Swartzberg said.