The US drugmaker’s vaccine, Pfizer, is less effective against the new omikron variant of the coronavirus, but still offers 70% protection against serious diseases. This is according to a study conducted by South Africa on Tuesday.
The study, conducted by Discovery, the country’s largest private health insurance company, along with scientists from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), is based on the results of 78,000 PCR tests conducted between November 15 and December 7.
“A double dose of Pfizer’s vaccine shows 70 percent efficacy in reducing hospitalizations,” Ryan Noah, president of Discovery, said at a press conference. Before the new alternative arrived, the vaccine was 93% effective.
Noah said the vaccine loses its efficacy more when vaccinated individuals develop multiple short-term infections.
Glenda Gray, president of SAMRC, a public medical research organization, called the results “extremely encouraging.” She notes that “the vaccine aims to protect against hospitalizations and deaths.”
In South Africa, the number of infections has increased dramatically since the arrival of Omicron. This variant is now responsible for 90 percent of cases. The worst-hit country was in Africa, with more than 3.1 million infections and more than 90,000 deaths.