Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine seems to be holding up well against more infectious coronavirus strains from the United Kingdom and South Africa, according to the researches.
Research Shows Pfizer Vaccines Can Fight The New COVID Variants
According to data from Qatar, a small Arabian country on the Persian Gulf, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine was 90 percent effective in defending against infection with the British B.1.1.7 variant and 75 percent effective against the South African B.1.351 variant.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar in Doha, Qatar, stated that the vaccine was successful against infection and disease in the Qatari population, despite the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants being prevalent within the region.
According to the team headed by Laith Abu-Raddad, the effectiveness against the variants was weaker than the 95 percent efficacy shown in clinical trial evidence for which the Pfizer vaccine requested emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Despite this, the decreased protection against infection with the B.1.351 variant did not seem to convert into weak protection against the most serious cases of infection, i.e., those resulting in hospitalization or death, which was robust, at more than 90%, according to the Qatar researchers. Their findings were announced in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 5.
Meanwhile, a second report released the same day in the medical journal The Lancet found that two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have a high degree of safety.
Israel, the first country to publish national data on the vaccine, revealed that the two doses have more than 95 percent defense against COVID-19 inflammation, hospitalization, and death for people aged 16 and over.
The analysis took place between January 24 and April 3, 2021, when the dominant strain in Israel was the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.
The researchers discovered that a single dose of the vaccine offered 58 percent protection against disease, 76 percent protection against hospitalization, and 77 percent protection against death.
The disparity in efficacy between one and two doses emphasizes the value of thoroughly vaccinating adults, according to the researchers.
The results further demonstrate the public health effects of a national vaccine campaign, which was a major contributor to a decrease in COVID-19 infections in Israel.
According to study author Sharon Alroy-Preis of the Israel Ministry of Health, as the country with the largest proportion of its population vaccinated against COVID-19, Israel offers a rare real-world opportunity to ascertain the efficacy of the vaccine and to observe broader impacts of the vaccination policy on public health.
Until now, she noted in a journal news release; no country has defined the national public health effect of a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine program. Although there are still significant hurdles to address, these findings provide real optimism that the COVID-19 vaccine will finally aid in containing the pandemic.
According to Dr. David Hirschwerk, an attending infectious diseases physician at Northwell Health in Manhasset in New York said that this is yet another example of the vaccine’s value in protecting against COVID-19 contamination, even though variant strains are involved.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average efficacy of the annual flu vaccine typically varies from 40% and 60%, with some years falling even lower.
Since the influenza virus mutates even faster than the COVID-19 virus, each year’s flu vaccination is an informed guess as to which new viruses will spread more commonly in the United States.
According to the report, genetic tests revealed that the South African variant caused approximately 50% of COVID-19 cases in Qatar between February 23 and March 18, and the British variant caused 45 percent.
By the end of March, there had been 6,689 breakthrough infections in Qatar citizens who had received one dose of the vaccine and 1,616 of those who had received two doses. This is based on almost 386,000 individuals receiving one dose and more than 265,000 completing the two-dose vaccine collection.