A new study has found Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in general use is as effective as it was in its final clinical trials.
In a large-scale study involving 1.2 million people, researchers at Israel’s Clalit Research Institute found the two-dose vaccine reduced cases showing COVID-19 symptoms by 94 percent across all age groups, and reduced disease severity by 92 percent. . The researchers also found that one dose of the vaccine was 57 percent effective after just two weeks.
The peer-reviewed study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine is the first analysis of a national COVID-19 immunization strategy.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s final stage clinical trials show the vaccine is 95 percent effective against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Moderna said it had developed a new version of its two-dose vaccine targeted to tackle the COVID-19 variant that was first identified in South Africa. The US-based pharmaceutical company has sent a small number of the new version to the US National Institutes of Health for further research.
Moderna is also testing whether to add a third booster shot to its two-dose vaccine to see if it can create the herd immunity needed to fight the South African variant.
Pfizer and Moderna have both said they plan to increase production of their vaccines in the coming months. Pfizer plans to double its products to 13 million doses per week by mid-March, while Moderna hopes to produce 40 million doses per month starting April.
EU leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday via video conference to discuss ways to increase the pace of production and distribution of the sluggish COVID-19 vaccine.
Concern is growing among the 27-member regional bloc that the rapidly spreading variants detected recently in Britain and South Africa will be resistant to the new vaccine. [uh/ab]