Pfizer vaccine less effective against Delta, but still prevents serious illness, hospitalizations


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Pfizer vaccine is now said to be only 64% effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to the Israel Health Ministry.

Since June 6, they have reported a decline in efficacy against the spread and mild infections. However, Pfizer is still 93% effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations.

“Serious infections are still protected and that’s the main thing,” Dr. Michael Saag with UAB said.

Doctors throughout Alabama say despite the news from Israel, people are still well protected from COVID with the Pfizer vaccine.

“We have yet to have a variant that has escaped the vaccine,” Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said.

Dr. Saag says Pfizer is still more effective against COVID compared to other vaccines against other diseases.

“Even at 64%, that is still a remarkable degree of protection,” Dr. Saag said.

“It just doesn’t prevent the actual infection quite as well as it does against the wild type or original strain,” Dr. Saag said.

Dr. Karen Landers says hospitalizations are low at the moment in Alabama, but the Delta variant is still spreading, especially to those unvaccinated.

“Couple of weeks ago it was 3% overall, and looking at preliminary data at 4.8%. So, we are going back up,” Dr. Landers said.

Which is why Dr. Landers and other health experts encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

“As a personal physician, please get vaccinated,” Dr. Landers said.

Because if vaccination rates remain low, herd immunity against the virus won’t happen.

“But it’s only going to work toward it’s maximum degree if everyone gets vaccinated and we are falling short of that right now,” Dr. Saag said.

Pfizer has not commented specifically about the data released from Israel’s government. They have released studies about the vaccine’s effectiveness against other variants in recent months.

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