UK News

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines provide ‘high level of protection’ against Indian variant UK News

The Pfizer Covid vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant after both doses, a study from Public Health England (PHE) found.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca injections were found to be almost as effective against symptomatic disease of strain B1617.2 as against Kent variant after the second dose.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the result “groundbreaking,” while PHE said he expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalization and death.

This is a major boost in the North East, amid growing concern over the mutant strain in our region. Surge tests are underway in North Tyneside in an attempt to slow the spread there.

The study, which ran from April 5 to May 16, found that the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic Indian variant disease two weeks after the second dose, compared with 93% effectiveness against Kent strain.

Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared to 66% against the Kent variant over the same period.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease of the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared to about 50% against the Kent strain.

The difference in efficacy between the two vaccines could be due to the rollout of second doses of AstraZeneca after the Pfizer vaccine, PHE said.

The data also shows that it takes longer for the AstraZeneca jab to reach peak efficiency.

The study included data for all age groups from April 5 to cover the period since the emergence of the Indian variant.

It also included 1,054 people who were found to have the strain through genomic sequencing and spanned “multiple” ethnicities, PHE said.

Mr Hancock said: ‘This new evidence is groundbreaking – and proves how valuable our Covid-19 vaccination program is in protecting the people we love.

“We can now be sure that more than 20 million people – more than one in three – have significant protection against this new variant, and that number is increasing by hundreds of thousands every day as more and more people receive this second vital dose. “

Health and Social Affairs Secretary Matt Hancock
Health and Social Affairs Secretary Matt Hancock

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Immunization Manager, added: “This study is reassuring that two doses of either vaccine provide high levels of protection against symptomatic disease of the B1617.2 variant.

“We expect the vaccines to be even more effective in preventing hospitalization and death, so getting both doses is vital to achieve maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

A separate analysis from PHE indicates that the vaccination program has so far prevented 13,000 deaths and around 39,100 hospital admissions among elderly people in England, through May 9.