COVID-19 vaccine highly effective against Delta: Pfizer official

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19, Pfizer official in Israel told on Thursday. First identified in India, Delta variant is becoming the globally dominant version of the coronavirus, according to WHO.

“The data that we have today, accumulating from research we are conducting at the lab and including the data from those places where the Indian variant, Delta, has replaced the British variant as the common variant, point to our vaccine being very effective and around 90%, in preventing the coronavirus disease, COVID-19,” Alon Rappaport, Pfizer’s medical director in Israel, said local broadcaster Army Radio.

A spokesperson for Pfizer did not immediately responded to the request for comment when asked to provide further details.

Israel, with one of the world’s most advanced vaccination campaigns largely based on the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, still lacks enough data to provide the insight into vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant of COVID-19, said Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health at Israel’s Health Ministry. “We are collecting the data now. We are only now seeing the first cases of the Delta variant in Israel – about 200 of those – so we will know more soon,” she told reporters yesterday.

An analysis by Public Health England (PHE), where the Delta variant is more widespread, and founded that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines provide more than 90% protection against hospitalization from the Delta variant.

In Israel, more than half the 9.3 million population has received both Pfizer shots and a steep drop in cases has prompted the most economic restrictions to be lifted. However, confirmed cases have risen in the past few days and health authorities have urged the parents to vaccinate their 12-to 15-year-olds children, who were made eligible this month.

Alroy-Preis said around 65% of Israel’s population was protected against COVID-19, either by vaccination or by recovering from the disease, a figure she told was still far from providing “herd immunity.”