June 22, 2021

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Two weeks after the second dose, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 88 percent effective against symptomatic disease from a coronavirus variant first identified in India that is spreading in the United Kingdom and could soon become the dominant strain there, a study by Public Health England found.

The results, released Saturday, are similar to the 93 percent effectiveness against another variant first identified in the U.K. last year, suggesting the vaccine still offers significant protection despite fears that the variant discovered in India, which is believed to be more contagious, would be resistant to vaccines. The research was conducted between April 5 and May 16.

The study also found that the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which has not been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, was 60 percent effective against the variant first detected in India after two doses, similar to the 66 percent mark against the variant first detected in the U.K.

Although the study instills confidence in the vaccines, it also indicates that getting the full dosing regimen is crucial when it comes to maximizing protection against the virus. Both vaccines were 33 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the variant detected in India three weeks after the first dose, compared to 50 percent against the variant discovered in the U.K. Read more at Axios and The Guardian. Tim O’Donnell

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