Thursday, December 2

Pfizer Booster Dose Is 95.6% Effective Against COVID Symptoms, Study Finds

A study by two laboratories found that a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was 95.6% effective against symptoms of the disease.

The trial, conducted in 10,000 people over the age of 16, shows “a relative efficacy of 95.6%” and a “favorable safety profile,” according to a statement.

The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, was given as a third dose to people who had previously received two doses.

According to the companies, the booster dose “restored the protection of the vaccine against COVID-19 to the high levels achieved after the second dose, showing a relative vaccine efficacy of 95.6% compared to those who did not receive a booster.” .

They were the first efficacy results from a randomized, controlled COVID vaccine booster trial.

The companies said they plan to send the information to the US FDA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other agencies.

“These results demonstrate once again the usefulness of boosters in our efforts to protect the population against this disease,” said Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, quoted in the statement.

The mean age of the participants was around 53 years.

Several countries have already allowed a booster dose to boost immunity in vaccinated people, which appears to wane after several months, according to some studies.

In the United States, FDA experts have been recommending a third dose of Pfizer / BioNTech for certain at-risk populations, such as those 65 and older, since late September.

“Available data suggest that immunity is declining in some fully vaccinated populations,” FDA Acting Director Janet Woodcock recently explained.

In Europe, the EMA approved in early October the principle of a third dose of Pfizer / BioNTech for people over 18 years of age, leaving the states to decide which populations are eligible.

France, for example, has started giving this booster dose to certain categories of the population: the elderly (six months after vaccination) and people with weakened immune systems.

Other governments have gone further: in Israel, the third dose is available starting at age 12, five months after vaccination.

Meanwhile, the EMA said Tuesday that it hoped to be ready to decide whether to recommend a Moderna booster by October 25.

Marco Cavaleri, Head of Strategy for Vaccines and Biological Threats for Health at the EMA, also provided an update on the agency’s opinion on the so-called combined vaccination programs.

The use of a different vaccine as a booster than the one used for the first two doses is already supported by the FDA.

Cavaleri said: “We are seeing some promising results from studies confirming that this approach will trigger a stronger immune response with some vaccine combinations than when using the same vaccine for an additional injection.

“As more evidence is consolidated, we will consider whether such clinical data could be sufficient to expand the recommendation on the use of each vaccine.”

He also urged countries and individuals to continue to get vaccinated against the disease.

With about five million people killed worldwide as a result of COVID-19, he said the cost of natural immunity – “in other words, letting the virus run wild” – is not tolerable.

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