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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is still stopping severe illness as the delta variant surges

The delta variant continues to surge. In Israel, is the vaccine still stopping severe illness?

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Richard Gatt holds vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Farmington on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Richard Gatt holds vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Utah has become one of four states where the delta variant has “skyrocketed,” according to reports.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The coronavirus delta variant continues to surge in Israel. But the Pfizer COVID-19 shot is stopping severe illness and infection — despite a downtick in its effectiveness.

Israel, COVID-19 vaccine and the delta variant

Bloomberg reports that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been less effective in stopping the novel coronavirus delta variant in Israel over the last few weeks.

  • However, the COVID-19 vaccine is still stopping severe illness pretty legitimately, showing the impact that the COVID-19 vaccines have in our real world outside of the lab.

The vaccine stopped illness and infections from COVID-19 in 64% of people from June 6 to early July. The previous effectiveness rate was 94%, according to Bloomberg.

  • The Israel Health Ministry said the downtick is because of the delta variant, which is surging through the country, and lifted restrictions, according to Reuters.

However, the shot is still stopping severe illness. The latest numbers show the shot stopped hospitalization 93% of the time — compared to 97% of the time earlier in the year.

Did Pfizer respond to new numbers?

Pfizer did not comment on the data, according to Reuters. However, the vaccine developer “cited other research showing that antibodies elicited by the vaccine were still able to neutralize all tested variants, including delta, albeit at reduced strength,” according to Reuters.

Why this matters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert, recently said that public health officials will start to recommend booster vaccine shots once they notice COVID-19 vaccine protection is dropping after some time, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • Fauci told Insider that he doesn’t think immunity from the vaccine will last forever.

Locally, Utah has become one of four states where the delta variant has “skyrocketed,” according to CBS television’s “Face the Nation” host Ed O’Keefe, who spoke to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox over the weekend.

  • “The good news is that our adult population is getting vaccinated at the same rate as the rest of the country ... we’re at about 69% right now,” Cox said. “We have 89% of those over the age of 65 (vaccinated) and we feel really good about that and our death rates have gone down ... but we desperately need more.”