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Pfizer vaccine protection takes a hit as Delta variant spreads, Israeli government says

Posted at 3:21 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 17:24:15-04

(WXYZ) — The Israeli government says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be less effective against the Delta variant.

Vaccine protection dropped in early June, as the Delta variant was rapidly spreading and social distancing restrictions were lifted in Israel.

Between June 6th and early July, an Israeli analysis found that the protection rate for Pfizer’s vaccine dropped to 64%. That’s down from 95.3% - which was the protection rate back in May when the Alpha variant was dominant in Israel.

So while it’s possible that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective when it comes to the Delta variant at preventing both infection and symptomatic disease, there was very little data released with this analysis. And a Hebrew University research team made a point of releasing a separate statement saying that it’s still too soon to really know how much the vaccines are affected by the Delta variant.

I get the concern, I often get questions about the variants from my patients. But I’ve got good news - a recent study found that when breakthrough infections do happen, the person is more likely to have milder symptoms for a shorter period of time. And you’re less likely to end up with severe disease.

In fact, the Israeli analysis found that Pfizer’s vaccine was 93% effective in stopping severe disease and hospitalizations. And that number jumped even higher according to Public Health England. It found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 96% effective against hospitalizations from the Delta variant.

So, I don’t want those who’ve had Pfizer to worry. Of course, I do recommend that you err on the side of caution and stick with pandemic precautions if you have underlying medical conditions. But so far, data indicates that our vaccines are still very effective against all the variants.

Plus, other research has found that immune cells called T-cells remain mostly unaffected. So if antibodies have deceased, T-cells can step up to the plate, recognize the Delta mutation, and fight it. They can kill infected cells and stop infections. And that’s why it’s imperative that those who can get vaccinated, do so as soon as possible.

When most of us are vaccinated, it leaves less room for the virus to mutate and wreak havoc in our lives.

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