Pfizer and BioNTech released new data Thursday that revealed their COVID-19 vaccine works against the COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa.

What did data show about Pfizer’s vaccine and the South Africa variant?

The vaccine developers said in a statement that 12,000 people in their recent Phase 3 trial showed exceptional protection against the COVID-19 variant out of South Africa.

South African coronavirus variant may reduce vaccine protection, Pfizer says

Specifically, the data show that six cases of the South Africa variant were found. None of those patients were given the vaccine, though, according to NBC News.

  • The company said this suggests the vaccine has 100% efficacy against the South Africa COVID-19 variant.
  • “Vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 cases in South Africa, where the B.1.351 lineage is prevalent,” the company said in a statement.

What does this mean for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer, said the new data shows the success of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • “These data confirm the favorable efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine and position us to submit a Biologics License Application to the U.S. FDA,” Bourla said. “The high vaccine efficacy observed through up to six months following a second dose and against the variant prevalent in South Africa provides further confidence in our vaccine’s overall effectiveness.”
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Previous concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and South Africa variant:

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In February, Pfizer released data that showed the South African variant of the novel coronavirus might reduce protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by almost two-thirds, which worried the developers about what this would mean for their vaccine, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The recent data suggest this is not the case.

  • Pfizer started to develop a third shot for its vaccine, though, which would act as a booster to protect against the variant, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
  • It appears Pfizer will still look to develop a third shot.
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