Pfizer vaccine 70 percent effective against omicron hospitalizations: research

A new South African study finds that the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 70 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations due to the omicron variant.

The research published Tuesday was conducted by Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurance company, Reuters reported. More than 211,000 positive COVID-19 test results from Nov. 15 to Dec. 7 were examined, with about 78,000 attributed to the omicron variant.

The study also determined that the Pfizer vaccine is only 33 percent effective at preventing infection caused by the omicron variant, which was first discovered in South Africa. However, Reuters noted that the 78,000 cases attributed to omicron were not confirmed cases of the variant, so the study could not offer conclusive findings.

Additionally, children were found to have a 20 percent higher risk of hospitalization due to the omicron variant when compared to earlier strains.

South African scientists have said in the past that they cannot confirm a link between the omicron variant and the high rate of hospital admissions of infants, saying it could be due to other factors.

According to Discovery Health, the findings from this study should be considered preliminary.

“This could be a confounding factor for these hospital admission and severity indicators during this Omicron wave,” Discovery Chief Executive Ryan Noach said of the research.

Updated at 8:02 a.m.


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