Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective against hospitalization from all variants - including Delta - for first six months after receiving shots

Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine remains effective at preventing hospitalizations for at least six months, a new study suggests..

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) gathered data from the company's health care network to discover how often fully vaccinated people were either testing positive for the virus or being hospitalized because of it.

They found the Pfizer vaccine was 90 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations for the first six months after becoming fully vaccinated.

Existing variants also seem to have little ability to bypass the vaccines, including the highly transmissible Delta variant, which is now responsible for nearly all cases in the U.S.

The vaccine's effectiveness at preventing infection does significantly wane over time, though, falling as low as 47 percent after five months.

Previous studies have had similar findings regarding the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines at preventing infection and hospitalization.

The results of the study show that a recent uptick in breakthrough cases may have less to do with any factors specific to the Delta variant, but instead have to do with the efficacy of the vaccines falling over time.

These breakthrough cases are less serious, though, with the vaccine still showing the ability to prevent hospitalizations and death.

'Our variant-specific analysis clearly shows that the [Pfizer] vaccine is effective against all current variants of concern, including Delta,' said Dr Luis Jodar, senior vice president of Pfizer Vaccines, in a statement.

'COVID-19 infections in people who have received two vaccine doses are most likely due to waning and not caused by Delta or other variants escaping vaccine protection.'

For the study, published in The Lancet, the team gathered data from 3.4 million members of the KPSC health network.

They analyzed health records to find how often people tested positive or required medical treatment due to the virus.

People whose data was included in the study were separated by age to find any potential differences in vaccine effectiveness over the six months following the second jab.

Researchers found little differences among age cohorts in both the ability to prevent hospitalizations or infection.

Among all age groups, the vaccine's effectiveness slowly declined over the months, eventually falling to around 50 percent.

Overall, the vaccine showed 73 percent effectiveness at preventing infection during the first six months after vaccination.

Effectiveness against hospitalization remained stable for all ages, showing little change over the first six months.

Other studies have made similar findings, including a Mayo Clinic study from August that found the Pfizer vaccine is only 42 percent effective at preventing infection in July, though still 75 percent effective at preventing hospitalization.

At the time, it was believed that the Delta variant was the cause for declining efficacy, though the KPSC findings state otherwise.

Another study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine declined to around 50 percent over time.

The findings match what many health officials have said in recent weeks in conversations regarding Covid booster shots.

The White House, wanted to roll out boosters for all Americans starting on September 20, citing the waning efficacy of the vaccines as the reason for the third shots.

Some officials and experts disagreed, including 18 senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials who published a report opposing the boosters last month, instead cite the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing hospitalizations as a reason why the boosters are not needed.

The FDA declined to authorize the boosters for all Americans over the age of 18, instead only giving authorization for the Pfizer boosters to be used for Americans aged 65 or older or with a comorbidity that makes them vulnerable to the virus.

Eligible Americans quickly took advantage of the boosters availability, with nearly two million of the shots being administered last week, the White House reported.


Safe to receive Covid and flu jabs at the same time, study shows

Research also finds that co-administration has no negative impact on immune response generated by both vaccines

It is safe for people to receive a dose of the Covid and flu vaccine at the same time, new research shows, and nor is there any negative impact on the immune response as a result of co-administration.

Scientists behind the Combining Influenza and Covid-19 Vaccination (ComFluCov) study said their findings support government plans to roll out Covid booster jabs alongside flu shots, where it is deemed practical.

A trial led by a team at the University of Bristol showed that the reported side effects of co-administration were mainly mild to moderate, concluding that “concomitant vaccination raises no safety concerns and preserves the immune response to both vaccines”.

Dr Rajeka Lazarus, a consultant in infectious diseases and microbiology, and chief investigator for the ComFluCov study, said the research demonstrated that “it is possible to protect people from both Covid-19 and flu at the same appointment”.

She added: “This is a really positive step which could mean fewer appointments for those who require both vaccines, reducing the burden on those who have underlying health conditions and would usually be offered the influenza vaccine.

The results of the study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, have already been shared with the the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the UK’s medicines regulator.

They were used to help shape preparations for the autumn and winter plan. Under this, more than 50 million Covid booster jabs are to be offered, while some 30 million flu shots will also be rolled out.

As part of the ComFluCov trial, two Covid and three flu vaccines were tested – six combinations in all.

Study participants were over the age of 18 and had already received one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, and were awaiting their second dose.

A total of 679 volunteers took part in the study across 12 NHS sites in England and Wales.

One group received their second dose of the Covid vaccine and the flu vaccine at their first study visit, then a placebo at their second visit.

A second group received their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and a placebo at their first visit and then the flu vaccine at their second visit.

Participants also attended a third study visit to discuss any side effects and give a blood sample.

The most common side effects were pain around the injection site and fatigue.

Some combinations saw an increase in the number of people who reported at least one side effect when both Covid-19 and flu vaccine were given together, but the reactions were mostly mild or moderate, researchers found.

According to the study, the immune responses to both the flu and Covid-19 vaccine were preserved when given together, and 97 per cent of participants said they would be willing to have two vaccines at the same appointment in the future.

Professor Andrew Ustianowski, clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), said: “This research has quickly provided important and reassuring results that could make vaccination more efficient for both patients and the NHS.”

The study was led by researchers at the Bristol Trials Centre at the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, and supported by the Clinical Research Network West of England.

Dr Peter English, a former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, said “there is a long history of vaccinating people against more than one disease simultaneously”.

He added: “I cannot think of any examples where co-administration of vaccines is in any way unsafe.

“We would not expect any problems to arise from co-administration of flu and Covid-19 vaccines; but it is wise and precautionary to check for possible problems in clinical trials before authorising or recommending widespread co-administration. This study does just that.”



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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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