Big Money for big pharma: Pfizer says its vaccines protect you up to 6 months
For the first time, Pfizer finally answers the question everybody has been asking: How long do the COVID-19 vaccines last? Pfizer and BioNtech announced Thursday that their Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective at protecting against symptomatic Covid-19 up to six months after the second dose, citing updated trial data.
This means people already vaccinated may have to go back and get a new vaccine to boost their immunity against the virus. In a joint news release, Pfizer and BioNTech said:
“Today announced updated topline results from analysis of 927 confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19 observed in their pivotal Phase 3 study through March 13, 2021, showing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, was 91.3% effective against COVID-19, measured seven days through up to six months after the second dose.”
The new study looked at the vaccine’s performance in 46,307 people who enrolled in the Phase 3 trial, starting in July. The results from this analysis of 46,307 trial participants build upon and confirm previously released data and demonstrate strong protection against COVID-19 through six months post-second dose.
According to the companies, of the 927 cases of symptomatic Covid-19 observed through March 13, 850 were in people who received a placebo and 77 in people who were vaccinated. That corresponds to a vaccine efficacy of 91.3% up to six months after getting the second dose, Pfizer and BioNTech said.
“A total of 697 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the United States; 647 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 50 in the vaccine group, indicating vaccine efficacy of 92.6% (95% CI, [90.1, 94.5]).”
Pfizer’s chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said today that the recent data “confirm the favorable efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine” and can permit the company to apply for full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Currently, the vaccine only has Emergency Authorization Use, which was issued in December of 2020.
The findings, released Thursday, emerged from a continuing review of how volunteers in the shot’s late-stage trial were faring. The further analysis suggested the vaccine worked effectively against a variant first identified in South Africa, Pfizer and BioNTech said. And the companies said they haven’t found serious safety concerns so far.
“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,” said BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin.
Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said the additional results provide “further confidence in our vaccine’s overall effectiveness.”
The companies said they now expect to file for full approval of the vaccine in the U.S. as early as this month. It’s been cleared for use so far on an emergency basis.