Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine ‘less effective’ against Delta variant: Israel

  • Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is more efficient in giving protection against severe illness and hospitalisation, the data, however, showed
Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla recently said that an agreement with the Indian government regarding the approval of the vaccine in the country is being finalised.(REUTERS)
Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla recently said that an agreement with the Indian government regarding the approval of the vaccine in the country is being finalised.(REUTERS)
Published on Jul 06, 2021 02:28 PM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Meenakshi Ray

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine was less effective in stopping people from getting infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country in recent weeks, the Israeli government has said. According to Bloomberg, data from Israel’s health ministry showed the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine protected 64 per cent of the country’s people against the virus between June 6 and early July, down from the earlier 94 per cent. This decline has been observed amid the emergence and rise in cases of Delta variant in the country, the data revealed.

Moreover, the surge in Delta variant cases also coincided with the lifting of restrictions due to the virus at the start of June in Israel, Bloomberg reported. However, the government data also showed that the Pfizer vaccine jab is protecting people from severe illness and hospitalisation. The vaccine jab showed 93 per cent effectiveness in ceasing people from hospitalisation – only marginally dropping from 97 per cent revealed in an earlier government study.

Pfizer Inc’s spokesperson Dervila Keane declined to comment on the Israel government findings, Bloomberg added. She emphasised on research showing the vaccine’s continued protection against new coronavirus mutations – although it was slightly decreased in some cases. Keane told Bloomberg that evidence till now indicates that the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine will “continue to protect against these variants.”

Although Israel had one of the world’s most effective vaccination drives and administered vaccine jabs to about 57 per cent of its population, several of the new coronavirus cases are being identified among such people, Ynet news services reported. According to the website, last Friday, 55 per cent of the newly infected citizens were inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine doses. Furthermore, as of July 4, the country has as many as 35 serious cases of the virus as opposed to 21 seen on June 19.

As per the Bloomberg report, a statement by the Israel Prime Minister’s office said that the government has plans to study vaccinated people who contracted Covid-19, including factors such as pre-existing conditions, inoculation dates, and age, in order to gauge the vaccine’s efficacy and the rate at which it wears off.

The government is mulling over reinstating additional curbs after restoring a mandate to wear masks indoors in public spaces. However, the health ministry told Bloomberg that no decision has yet been made on recommending a third vaccine dose for the citizens.

Although Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla has said that people will likely require to be administered a third vaccine jab within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated, Bloomberg reported.

This development comes only a week after the Indian government stated that they will soon close the deal with Pfizer to make it the fifth covid-19 vaccine available in the country. Notably, Moderna – the first international vaccine, was given a green signal on June 29. Meanwhile, Dr Bourla recently said that an agreement with the Indian government is being finalised.

Towards the end of June, Reuters reported that Pfizer’s medical director in Israel, Alon Rappaport told local broadcaster Army Radio that research from the lab and areas where Delta variant has replaced the British Covid-19 variant as the “common variant,” point that Pfizer vaccine is “very effective”, nearly 90 per cent in preventing Covid-19.

The Delta variant was first identified in India and has now spread to at least 98 countries. A subtype of the variant, Delta Plus, has already been detected in more than 50 samples in the country. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the world is in a very “dangerous period” of the pandemic owing to more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is rapidly emerging as the dominant strain in several countries.

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Thursday, October 28, 2021