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.

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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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