Pfizer vaccine not very effective against South African variant: Israeli study

WION Web Team
Tel Aviv, Israel Published: Apr 11, 2021, 02:01 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Israel Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The researchers conclude that the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, in comparison to the original virus and the first variant found in the UK

The South African variant of the deadly coronavirus can “break through" the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine to some extent, a study in Israel concluded.

Published on Sunday, the study studied nearly 400 people who had tested positive for coronavirus 14 days after they were administered the vaccine. They were compared to the same number of unvaccinated people with the disease.

Variant B.1.351, which is the South African variant, was found to make up nearly one per cent of all the coronavirus cases of these people, as per the researchers of Tel Aviv University and Israel’s healthcare provider, Clalit.

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Vaccine’s prevalence rate was eight times higher in the people who had received both the doses of the vaccine, in comparison to those who had not been vaccinated at all.

This helped the researchers conclude that the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, in comparison to the original virus and the first variant found in the UK.

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“We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” said Tel Aviv University’s Adi Stern.

However, the study is still due for peer review and the researchers have also warned that the sample size of the patients with the South African variant was less due to the rarity of the variant in Israel.

It also highlighted a warning that the motive of the study is not to question the general effectiveness of the vaccine against any variant. The study was conducted only at people who had tested positive for the deadly virus and cannot, therefore, comment on the effectiveness of the vaccine in general.

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