Covid Vaccines Effective Against Variant From India, Study Finds

A healthcare worker prepares Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) mass vaccination site at Portland International Airport (PDX) in Portland, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, May 17, 2021. The U.S. on Sunday recorded its lowest number of new coronavirus infections since the early days of the pandemic. Photographer: Alisha Jucevic/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) --Coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc have been shown to work against a variant first identified in India, according to a study by Public Health England.

By Agnieszka de Sousa
May 22, 2021, 11:30 PM
Word Count: 281

Two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines were “highly effective” against the B.1.617.2 strain first detected in India, the agency said in a statement. There was minimal difference with how the inoculations work on a variant detected in Kent, it said.

“We expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospitalization and death,” said Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE. “So it is vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

The results are likely to boost the U.K. government’s plan to end its lockdown on June 21 even as cases of the variant have been rising rapidly.

Read more: How the India Covid Variant Exposed U.K.’s Pandemic Weaknesses

The study, conducted from April 5 to May 16, found that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot was 88% effective against the B.1.617.2 variant two weeks after the second dose. Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective.

The difference may be explained by the fact that the rollout of second doses of AstraZeneca came later than for the Pfizer vaccine, Public Health England said. There’s also data showing the AstraZeneca inoculation takes longer to reach maximum effectiveness, according to the agency.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.