According to results of a study published on Tuesday in South Africa’s leading private health insurer that two shots of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine offers around 70 percent protection against severe disease from Omicron.
According to Dr Ron Whelan, head of the Discovery Covid-19 task team : « This is a very big study, it includes 211,000 PCR test results. What we’ve done then is we’ve done a clinical twin study where we’ve compared our clients who are vaccinated to our clients who are unvaccinated and looked a the outcome both in terms of infections, hospital admissions and in fact death. »
The study, conducted with scientists from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), is based on the results of 78 000 positive PCR tests obtained between 15 November and 7 December.
He added that : « The study indicated that there has been a reduction in the effectiveness of the two doses Pfizer vaccine, against general protection of infection. It seems to provide 33 percent protection against infection, whereas previously in South Africa, in the previous variant, it was the Delta variant in South Africa, it provided close to eighty percent protection against infection, so quite a significant reduction in protection against infection. »
Early indicators suggest that it could be more transmissible, but promising data so far has suggested that vaccines still offer protection against Omicron.
« 70 percent protection against severe disease and hospitalisation, in the context of Omicron which is highly transmissible, I think we are very satisfied with. And I think it bodes well for the Omicron outbreak globally that vaccines are still providing that level of protection against severe disease, which is what they were designed for. », he concluded.