Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine performs low against Delta variant


The US pharmaceutical major, Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has been showing low efficacy against the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country in recent weeks, the Israeli government has said.

This development comes only a week after the Indian government stated that they will soon close the deal with Pfizer to make it the fifth covid-19 vaccine available in the country. Notably, Moderna – the first international vaccine, was given a green signal on June 29.

According to Bloomberg, data from Israel’s health ministry showed the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine protected 64 percent of the country’s people against the virus between June 6 and early July, down from the earlier 94 percent.

This decline has been observed amid the emergence and rise in cases of Delta variant in the country, the data revealed.

Moreover, the surge in Delta variant cases also coincided with the lifting of restrictions due to the virus at the start of June in Israel, Bloomberg reported. However, the government data also showed that the Pfizer vaccine jab is protecting people from severe illness and hospitalization.

The vaccine jab showed 93 percent effectiveness in ceasing people from hospitalization – only marginally dropping from 97 percent revealed in an earlier government study.

Pfizer Inc’s spokesperson Dervila Keane declined to comment on the Israel government’s findings, Bloomberg added. She emphasized on research showing the vaccine’s continued protection against new coronavirus mutations – although it was slightly decreased in some cases.

Although Israel had one of the world’s most effective vaccination drives and administered vaccine jabs to about 57 percent of its population, several of the new coronavirus cases are being identified among such people, Ynet news services reported.

According to the website, last Friday, 55 percent of the newly infected citizens were inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine doses. Furthermore, as of July 4, the country has as many as 35 serious cases of the virus as opposed to 21 seen on June 19.

As per the Bloomberg report, a statement by the Israel Prime Minister’s office said that the government has plans to study vaccinated people who contracted Covid-19, including factors such as pre-existing conditions, inoculation dates, and age, in order to gauge the vaccine’s efficacy and the rate at which it wears off.

The government is mulling over reinstating additional curbs after restoring a mandate to wear masks indoors in public spaces. However, the health ministry told Bloomberg that no decision has yet been made on recommending a third vaccine dose for the citizens.

Although Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla has said that people will likely require to be administered a third vaccine jab within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated, Bloomberg reported.

The Delta variant was first identified in India and has now spread to at least 98 countries. A subtype of the variant, Delta Plus, has already been detected in more than 50 samples in the country. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the world is in a very “dangerous period” of the pandemic owing to more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is rapidly emerging as the dominant strain in several countries.