Story at a glance

  • The drugmakers said ongoing phase three clinical trials showed the two-shot vaccine was 91.3 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases starting one week after the second dose through as long as six months.
  • Of 927 symptomatic cases observed through March 13, 850 were in participants who received a placebo and 77 were in those who were given the vaccine.
  • The shot was also 95 to 100 percent effective against severe cases, depending on whether researchers used the definition of severe disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the one from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be more than 91 percent effective against the disease for at least six months following the second dose, the companies announced Thursday. 

The drugmakers in a news release — that has yet to be peer reviewed — said ongoing phase 3 clinical trials involving more than 46,000 participants showed the two-shot vaccine was 91.3 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases starting one week after the second dose through as long as six months. Of 927 symptomatic cases observed through March 13, 850 were in participants who received a placebo and 77 were in those who were given the vaccine. 


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Pfizer said 12,000 people involved in the trial experienced high levels of protection against COVID-19 six months after their second dose with no serious safety concerns. 

The shot was also 95 to 100 percent effective against severe cases, depending on whether researchers used the definition of severe disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the one from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Additionally, Pfizer said its vaccine appeared to be 100 percent effective against the B.1.351 variant, the dominant strain circulating in South Africa that public health officials fear could evade the protection of vaccines. 

“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,” Ugur Sahin, CEO of co-found of BioNTech, said in a statement. 

“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.” 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the trial results will allow the companies to submit a full Biologics License Application to the FDA. The vaccine currently only has emergency use approval. 

The results come just one day after Pfizer and BioNTech announced the vaccine showed to be 100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in teens ages 12-15.


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Published on Apr 01, 2021