A new study found that the Pfizer booster has an efficacy of over 95%. To make this even better news, the study was carried out when the Delta variant was already prevalent.
We’re almost closing in on a year of COVID-19 vaccinations, with vaccines that have thankfully come earlier than expected and have proven to be efficient against the disease. But the virus also hasn’t been sitting still, and it’s produced some concerning mutations — most notably, the Delta strain.
The Delta strain has proven to be more contagious and more threatening than the original strain, and with immunity potentially waning, countries are already starting to approve a 3rd booster vaccine, especially for the ones most vulnerable to the disease. Since this is still a relatively new development, we haven’t had many studies on 3rd dose boosters, but the data is starting to come in — and it’s looking good.
A study carried out by Pfizer and BioNTech on more than 10,000 participants aged 16 and older was recently published. It’s the first controlled, randomized trial looking at the effectiveness of boosters.
The participants, whose average age was 53, had received two shots beforehand and were either given a booster or a placebo.
“The median time between second dose and administration of the booster dose or placebo was approximately 11 months,” the companies said.
Overall, two shots and a booster was found to be 95.6% effective against COVID-19 compared to two shots and a placebo — which is already much better than no protection. Subgroup analysis also showed that the efficacy was consistent across different groups, regardless of race, age, and sex, the companies say.
A return to normalcy
By now, it’s become abundantly clear that the only return to any type of normal can only be achieved through vaccinations. We don’t yet know if we’re looking at yearly vaccinations (like with influenza) because we don’t know how long vaccine immunity, but the fact that boosters are so effective is an encouraging sign.
“These important data add to the body of evidence suggesting that a booster dose of our vaccine can help protect a broad population of people from this virus and its variants,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech. “Based on these findings we believe that, in addition to broad global access to vaccines for everyone, booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy.”
For comparison, another recent study found that reinfection with COVID-19 remains likely in unvaccinated people. Regardless of whether you’ve had the disease or not, vaccination is still the right thing to do — and the only way to finally be rid of this pandemic.
Pfizer and BioNTech now plan to submit detailed results from the trial for peer-reviewed publication.