Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Works Against South African Variant

Moreover, it offers a high level of protection against COVID-19 six months after the second dose.
Derya Ozdemir

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Thursday that the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of their coronavirus vaccine has confirmed its protection lasts at least six months after the second dose, according to a press release by the companies.

According to the new data, the vaccine's overall efficacy rate is 91.3 percent which is lower than the 95 percent originally reported in November. It has also been found to be fully effective against the B.1.351 variant of the virus which was first discovered in South Africa.

"The vaccine was 100 percent effective against severe disease as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 95.3% effective against severe COVID-19 as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," Pfizer and BioNTech wrote in a joint statement.


The findings will allow the companies to submit a license application for FDA approval, according to Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer.

"It is an important step to further confirm the strong efficacy and good safety data we have seen so far, especially in a longer-term follow-up," explained Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. "These data also provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against currently circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population."

Just yesterday, March 31, the companies said in a trial of volunteers aged 12 to 15, the vaccine showed 100 percent efficacy in that age group, further highlighting the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.