Pfizer and BioNTech have released some extraordinary findings from a Phase 3 trial involving 46,307 participants, between seven days and six months after a second dose was administered. The vaccine was found to have a 91.3 percent efficacy rate. These findings line up with the real world data coming out of Israel, which has used the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate its population, and reported several weeks ago that it proved 94 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness.
But on top of the overall efficacy rate came even better news: Pfizer is reporting that the ‘vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing severe disease’ as defined by the Centers for Disease Control. The 32 cases of severe disease were all found in the placebo group, while zero were found in the vaccinated group. What’s more, the vaccine was found to be ‘100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 cases in South Africa’, where the new strain is overwhelmingly prevalent: of the 800 participants enrolled in South Africa, ‘nine cases of COVID-19 were observed, all in the placebo group, indicating vaccine efficacy of 100 percent’. Six of them were the new B.1.351 strain. While many will look forward to seeing bigger studies, early indication suggests the vaccine, in its current form, is robust against the variant.
Today’s findings have big implications for those who have received the Pfizer vaccine, as well as public policy being crafted around protecting the vaccine rollout. Both trial and real world evidence continues to show the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of the most effective on offer; and its effectiveness against different strains suggests that the need for boosters for those who’ve had the Pfizer jab will be dependent on how long the antibodies it induces last, rather than a need to inoculate against existing variants.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.