As per a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines provide highly effective protection under real-world conditions. As a part of the study, it was observed as to how the vaccines protected nearly 4,000 healthcare workers and first responders. The participants of the study worked in 8 locations around the country. They were observed from mid-December to mid-March.
The report read, “Reducing the risk for transmissible infection, which can occur among persons with asymptomatic infection or among persons several days before symptoms onset, is especially important among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers, given their potential to transmit the virus through frequent close contact with patients and the public”.
The participants were checked routinely regardless of symptoms. Also, the CDC monitored volunteers through text messages, e-mails and direct medical reports. The participants were also asked to do a nasal swab once a week. More than 62 per cent of the volunteers had received both doses of either a Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. More than 12 per cent had received just a single dose.
It was observed that out of the 2,961 people vaccinated with one or more doses and the 989 unvaccinated participants, a total of 205 had a positive PCR test for Covid-19. This is more than 87 per cent of those who had symptoms. Also, nearly 23 per cent of the cases sought help from a doctor. There were two hospitalisations. No deaths were reported.
In another significant development, it was observed that European Union’s drug regulators approved storage of Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine at normal freezer temperatures for a short period of time. This is based on data showing the stability at the recommended temperatures in standard pharmaceutical freezers. According to a press release by Pfizer, “The new data is a testament to the companies’ ongoing commitment to developing this vaccine further and collecting data in order to support broader and more flexible vaccine distribution and inoculation”.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which uses mRNA technology, was first approved in the UK. Its inability has been a major hurdle for distribution efforts. Vaccine doses are shipped in specially-designed containers that must be topped up with dry ice every five days and once it arrives at a clinic, it can be kept in a fridge for only five days. These stringent requirements have complicated vaccine rollout.