Biontech/Pfizer vaccine provides 91 percent protection after six months

Biontech and Pfizer’s vaccine also offers a high level of protection against Covid-19 and the more contagious viral variants, according to new data. Among 12,000 study participants who had been vaccinated up to six months ago, efficacy was about 91 percent, according to data released Thursday by the two vaccine partners. That’s slightly lower, however, than the 95 percent Biontech and Pfizer reported in November from the study of 44,000 participants.

Since then, however, a number of Corona variants have spread worldwide. Experts fear that the new variants from South Africa and Brazil may be resistant to existing vaccines. In the U.S., the South African variant has been detected in more than 25 states. In Austria or Germany, it is mainly the British variant that is rampant and has now reached almost 90 percent. In South Africa, although the number of study participants was relatively small at 800 and the South African variant dominates, the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer showed 100 percent efficacy in preventing disease.

“These data confirm our view that we have some really effective vaccines,” said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London. He said the efficacy against the South African variant was “particularly remarkable.”

Pfizer hopes for regular approval
Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said the new data open the way for the companies to seek regular approval in the United States. So far, it has been vaccinated under an emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the European Union, it has conditional approval. Now, data are available from more than 12,000 people who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months. More than 900 infections were reviewed, most of which occurred in the group that received a placebo. No “serious safety concerns” were also reported.

Protection from the vaccine was the same regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, the researchers said. The vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing serious disease, based on criteria set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he said. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) standards, it was 95.3 percent effective in preventing serious diseases.

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