Pfizer Vaccine 94 Percent Effective at Stopping Severe Sickness From Delta Variant
Should you worry about the delta variant? Recent headlines have been filled with alarming warnings that existing vaccines may be no match for the rapidly spreading COVID-19 variant. Meanwhile, some authorities have been using the delta variant to suggest an end to the easing of public health restrictions like business closures and mask mandates or instituting such restrictions once again.
But while the delta variant definitely poses a risk for unvaccinated populations, its danger to vaccinated people may be overstated.
Yes, “new data from Israel suggest the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine declines sharply when it’s pitted against the hyperinfectious delta variant,” Megan McArdle noted at The Washington Post yesterday. “Last week, more than half of all covid-19 cases in Israel reportedly occurred in people who were vaccinated; the vaccine appears to prevent only about two-thirds of symptomatic cases, compared with preventing almost 100 percent among older variants.”
While the Pfizer vaccine might not be as effective at totally thwarting the delta variant as it is with older strains of COVID-19, however, it still seems to protect recipients from the more severe effects of the virus.
“The vaccine protected 64% of inoculated people from infection during an outbreak of the Delta variant, down from 94% before,” points out the Wall Street Journal. “It was 94% effective at preventing severe illness in the same period, compared with 97% before, the [Israeli Health] ministry said.”
And some health experts are skeptical of the Israeli data, suggesting that it understates the value of the Pfizer vaccine against the delta variant.
“Speaking to colleagues in Israel, real skepticism about 64% number,” tweeted Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, on July 5. “Best data still suggest mRNA vaccines offer high degree of protection against infection” and “superb protection against severe illness.”
As of now, “if you’re vaccinated, I wouldn’t worry,” Jha commented.
To be clear, no
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