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Home >News >India >Pfizer vaccine 88% effective against B.1.617.2, AstraZeneca 60% effective: Study

A new study by health officials in England shows for the first time that two doses of COVID-19 vaccines are “highly effective" against the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India.

Public Health England (PHE) said on Saturday that while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 88 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 from the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) two weeks after the second dose, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 60 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the B1.617.2 VOC.

“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 study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May:

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.
  • 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant compared to 66% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.
  • Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from B.1.617.2, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant.

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.

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