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BioNTech-Pfizer jab could reduce COVID transmission: study

March 11, 2021

Real world data on the BioNTech-Pfizer shows that it is highly effective in not only preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic disease — it's also shown to be effective against at least one highly contagious variant.

The Pfizer company name magnified by a vaccine drop on the end of a needle
The Pfizer Biontech vaccine continues to show promising results agains coronavirus symptomsImage: photothek/imago images

The coronavirus vaccine co-developed by created by German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer has been shown to offer more protection than previously thought, according to new data published on Thursday.

"This comprehensive real-world evidence ... can be of importance to countries around the world as they advance their own vaccination campaigns," the two pharmaceutical firms said in a statement.

What did the study reveal?

The real world evidence suggests that the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine prevents 97% of symptomatic disease and 94% of asymptomatic disease, according to the data. 

The data on preventing asymptomatic infections means the shot could likely significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Evidence shows the two-dose jab also does well against other coronavirus variants.

More than 80% of the virus specimens used in the real-world analysis were the B117 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. The highly contagious variant is believed to be a dominant source of new infections in several countries.  

Unvaccinated individuals were 44 times more likely to develop symptoms and 29 times more likely to die than those who had received the vaccine, according to the analysis. 

Israel I Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19
As of Wednesday, around 55 percent of Israel's population as received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccineImage: Oded Balilty/AP/picture alliance

Where did they look?

The latest analysis was derived from data out of Israel. The country leads the world in its vaccination roll out, due in part to their aggressive acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Wednesday, 43% of the population has received both doses of the vaccine. 

In order to secure more doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer jab, Israel agreed to share data with the firms for real-world analysis.

 "Incidence rates in the fully vaccinated population have massively dropped compared to the unvaccinated population, showing a marked decline in hospitalized cases due to COVID-19," said Israel's Ministry of Health director Yeheskel Levy.

jm/rs (AFP, Reuters)

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