Pfizer vaccine is effective against Delta variant, study shows


With all of the frightening news about the Delta variant this week, here is some good news: some of the vaccines are still highly effective against it. Based on real-world data, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine just confirmed that two doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca have proven themselves against the Delta variant just as they did the Alpha variant.

Two doses of Pfizer (PFE.N) or AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine are nearly as effective against the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant as they are against the previously dominant Alpha variant, a study published on Wednesday showed.

Officials say vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant, now the dominant variant worldwide, though the study reiterated that one shot of the vaccines is not enough for high protection.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirms headline findings given by Public Health England in May about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca (AZN.L), based on real-world data.

Wednesday’s study found that two doses of Pfizer’s shot was 88% effective at preventing symptomatic disease from the Delta variant, compared to 93.7% against the Alpha variant, broadly the same as previously reported.

Two shots of AstraZeneca vaccine were 67% effective against the Delta variant, up from 60% originally reported, and 74.5% effective against the Alpha variant, compared to an original estimate of 66% effectiveness.

The full study published on Wednesday found that one dose of Pfizer’s shot was 36% effective, and one dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine was around 30% effective.

[From Reuters]

Once again, the numbers show the importance of receiving the full inoculation, which means two shots for all the vaccines save for Johnson & Johnson. Although one shot will provide some immunity, as you can see above, a single dose is dangerously ineffective against the Delta variant. So, make sure you follow through with the second jab and mask up in between doses. I was hoping that Moderna (my vaxx) was left out of the article because it wasn’t used in England, but it is. So is it effective? The company says it is. But then, Johnson & Johnson also said theirs was and we are finding out that’s not entirely true.

Of course, even with the protection of vaccines, breakthrough infection could happen. And chances increase in areas with higher percentages of unvaccinated people. CB sent me a great article from CNN about breakthroughs and what we should look out for. Most of it is common sense, but I’m sure there is someone in your life that should probably read it. Many of you saw this story the other day about the doctor in Alabama. She works in Birmingham and said the last thing her COVID patients ask her before she intubates them is to give them the vaccine. She has to tell them it’s too late. And when she has to inform the family they’ve died days later, the family regrets believing COVID was a hoax. It shouldn’t take losing a loved on to come around. But I don’t know what it will take. I feel horrible for anyone who lost someone to this. You know whose mental state I also worry about? All the medical staff who have had to call time of death on those who chose to ignore science.




Photo credit: Avalon Red

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

51 Responses to “Pfizer vaccine is effective against Delta variant, study shows”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Summerlover says:

    Moderna is relatively new in the UK. I’ve only just had my second dose in London and my first was early May. By then I think vaccine was only a few weeks in the UK. So not enough data yet. At least I hope that’s the case.

    • Drea says:

      I got Moderna here in the states. I typically just look at the Pfizer data and interpret that it will be something similar. Because they are very similar vaccines with similar mechanisms. Moderna is a young, small company, and I don’t know where they’re at with studies and data on this stuff. My two cents, anyway.

  2. Pam says:

    Moderna uses the same technology/made the same way as Pfizer. It is expected to perform like Pfizer. J&J vaccine not made the same way. Hence difference in efficacy. J&J uses traditional vaccine technology. Moderna uses MRNA just like Pfizer.

    • Kebbie says:

      I was going to say the same thing, Moderna has always had numbers similar to Pfizer, I think maybe a percentage or two lower against some of the earlier variants.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      J&J uses a standard adenovirus vector and the data’s based on a single shot. The booster makes a significant difference in the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines & I suspect that if/when J&J publishes data of trials that include a booster for their vaccine, there may be a statistically & clinically significant increase in efficacy as well. I’m not sure there’s data to support the efficacy is based on whether mRNA or adenovirus is used as the vector and would rather people not start proposing this without data to support it lest it be generalized down the lane that mRNA vaccines have by default, superior efficacy

      Bear in mind, there are a lot of limitations to this and other studies being published now. I’ll be much more interested in the clinical trial data which is better controlled & has a much higher sample size.

  3. LaraW” says:

    The doctor in the People story has a lot more compassion than me. Just reading the article made me angry, stressed, worried for healthcare workers, and depressed thanks to the links helpfully provided by People about kids on life support.

    If I am ever hospitalized, I know the first thing I will do/say when I get a chance to make my status DNR and DNI. For me, it’s just not worth it if I survive. I’m already on five meds for major depressive disorder. I wouldn’t have the will to battle through all the sequelae that comes after “recovering” from near death covid. After working at the veterinary ER and seeing up close what happens if you manage to get a heartbeat back— no. Damage to all your organs, possible brain damage from lack of oxygen, all your ribs broken. That’s if you’re lucky enough not to arrest again, which is usually what happens.

    Also losing your sense of smell and taste is no joke. It takes an unexpected emotional toll. From everything I’ve read, it’s like being forced to eat cardboard every day just to get your calorie quota, and it becomes harder to endure.

    • Darla says:

      I’m sorry you have to deal with all of that.

      I didn’t click because I have already seen too many sick Covid kids on Twitter, it is very upsetting I agree. Horrifying. I call this the FOX wave. Those murderers.

      • LaraW” says:

        Thanks, Darla. From everything I’ve read in your comments, Darla, you have emotional resilience that I really admire.

        Also the Fox wave kind of feels like a Fox river. Like, after winter is over and the snow melts, the rivers swells and probably erodes its banks. Then it kind of goes back to blah blah Republican talking points. And then you have a storm and the river surges again. Or something.

        One thing I don’t understand about Fox is that (I think?) they broadcast from NYC, and there’s a lot of people who work for them who don’t believe what they say (excluding their guest speakers). Do you think there will ever come a point where they feel an obligation to… at least reduce the vehement vaccine denial?

        Like the time they backed away from the diehard Trumpists and were suddenly being called by extremist white terrorists as “selling out” or something. If people could find a way to pin really serious legal liability (maybe even a criminal investigation! Wouldn’t that be nice?) on Fox for the misinformation, I bet you they would change their position really quickly.

      • Darla says:

        I don’t know Lara. I wonder about all of this constantly. I do think class action lawsuits could have a big impact. And I think those may happen because of Covid deaths.

      • LaraW” says:

        The deck is really stacked against class plaintiffs though, with all the protections the First Amendment affords.

    • TaraBest says:

      Lara, I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. You’re right about the smell/taste too.

      My young, healthy sister got Covid back in Jan and still hasn’t recovered her sense of taste. It’s like something is off in her brain and no matter what she eats after a few bites it tastes disgusting to her. She’s lost so much weight (scary thin) because eating is a huge struggle for her. It’s reached the point where she’s trying to drink giant protein shakes and eat meal replacement bars to try and get enough calories because nothing is appetizing. Even after “recovering” Covid has serious effects.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      So very sorry to hear this, Lara. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been for you.

      Please make sure you have an updated Health Directive and give a copy to your Doctor, the Hospital you usually go to, one with your family (or the person you’ve given Power of Attorney to), and upload one copy onto your phone.

      There are a lot of online choices to make it easier. I had an old one, from the atty that did my Living Trust, but I recently updated mine using this site: Just fill it out, and get it notarized.

      Good luck! 💜

    • DeeSea says:

      LARAW, I want to give you a big virtual hug and high-five. I see so much of myself in your comment.

      I just redid all of my legal paperwork last month, and I had my attorney blast my medical directives with the maximum mentions of DNR and DNI wishes! My only fear now is being in a country or religiously affiliated hospital that potentially wouldn’t honor my wishes, but I’ve done what I reasonably can to set things in place.

      I was very sick in April 2020 and I very well might have had COVID, but there was no good way to order a test in my region back then. My doctor was as frustrated as I was about that. I lost my senses of taste and smell for about 10 days, and it was legit terrifying. I was seriously scared for my emotional well-being if they weren’t to come back. One might not think that that symptom is a big deal, but it is. I’m so grateful that those senses came back, and I try every day to not take them for granted.

    • Christine says:

      I am so sorry for everything you have gone through and are going through, Lara!

  4. Ellie says:

    This is comforting, I wish I could’ve read this last week! We both have Pfizer and my husband came down with a cold, we’ve been sort of freaking out waiting for our test results to come back this week to find out if it was actually COVID. We found out last night that it wasn’t. But on top of everything else that sucks these days, it sucks that we’ll have to wonder if every minor case of the sniffles is COVID for the foreseeable future, even if you’re vaccinated.

    • Darla says:

      Yes, my temporary roommate came back from Fire Island sick, and had to go for two Covid tests, the rapid and then the regular one. Both returned negative, but I wouldn’t see anyone until we got the results. I banned my mother from my place for the week.

  5. Ariel says:

    Several of my friends cheated the state’s tier system and went early and ended up with j&j.
    I waited for my appropriate turn, got the Pfizer. Feeling a tiny bit superior this morning. It will pass. But lucky to get the Pfizer – at that time there wasn’t a choice- you got whatever they had that day.
    March 2021 seems like so long ago!

    • Christine says:

      Isn’t it insane what makes us feel better these days? I waited and got the Pfizer vaccine, and I would feel similarly smug if I had family or friends who jumped the line. Not my best quality, but it’s where I am.

  6. EMF999 says:

    This is very reassuring. I’ve been minorly freaking out by the Israeli data. Wonder why Israel is an outlier.

    • ME says:

      It may be because they got Pfizer so early on and it’s protective ability is lessening as time goes by…hence the idea of booster shots. I guess time will tell.

  7. Frida_K says:

    Re: the doctor who “[…] works in Birmingham and said the last thing her COVID patients ask her before she intubates them is to give them the vaccine. She has to tell them it’s too late.”

    I guess I’m in the minority but I don’t find this anecdote charming or noble. If I were in her shoes, I’d either smooth over the moment (“Let’s just get you breathing first and then we can talk about your vaccination”) or outright lie (“Let’s get you set up with your breathing and then I’ll vaccinate you”).

    As far as the weeping relatives after the patient died? Well, if they weren’t vaccinated, I’d be merciless.

    But to a person in extremis? I don’t know if I’d feel so self righteous and sure that saying “Sorry! Too late!” is the compassionate thing to do.

    Mind you, I’m just as angry at the no-vaxxers as the next person, but if the patient is on their deathbed, I just don’t see that brutal honesty with a touch of smugness (even though it’s warranted) is the kindest way to go. And it’s not as if it’s going to change anything for them, especially if they die within the hour.

    • Tinnie says:

      You’re right about this doctor. It is a bit smug and mean-spirited if said in that way. Maybe she’s ‘just’ being blunt, maybe she says other more empathetic things next, not that doctors are known for their empathy at times. I get why she’s reporting it this way to the media.

      They learned a lot in NY hospitals using oxygen and (in some places) Vitamin C drips (which they had success with in China tho’ you hear little about it as no pharmaceutical $$$ link, not ‘sexy’), and not going as quickly to intubation, I hope that’s what they’re doing in other parts of country.

      I hadn’t heard that one of the MRNA vaccines is ‘better’ than the other and keep reading about people getting Covid and a lot not being reported (literally it’s not being tracked properly by govt). I recognize this may be an unpopular statement but think of all the wrong info we got early on in Covid… keep a discerning eye on what’s reported is all. Hopefully we learned to do that although not sure I’m seeing total evidence on that thus far…

    • Maria says:

      Honestly this kind of work takes a toll that I’m sure very few who are not doing it can imagine. And after seeing how careless people are….no, I can understand her saying that. And it’s a fact. What else is she going to say??

    • Leah says:

      She’s just being honest with them because remember once you get the vaccine series, it takes weeks for immunity to reach a certain level. For Pfizer, the shots are three weeks apart, so that’s three weeks and then another three weeks. She knows her patients could be dead within days or a week so what’s the point? At that stage they are treating the virus while trying to keep the patient alive, they aren’t trying to prevent it.

    • Hecate says:

      I think that was also my possibly too brief overview as well. She holds the patients hand and explains she is unable to give them the vaccine they are requesting because they already have the virus. And she hugs their family when she announces the patient has passed. I don’t think she’s admonishing anyone. The link above tells her story better than I did, I was trying to save space. The point I was trying to make is the stress the doctors and nurses are under when they know this is almost 100% preventable.

      • Frida_K says:

        Thank you, @Hecate. I read the article and am still not impressed. If someone is going to die, or they are gasping for breath, I think (and maybe it’s just me) that the kinder thing to do is to say, “Let’s get you breathing first and then we can talk about vaccines.” Then, if they come out of it, be honest and say, “Sorry, too late, you’ve got a serious case of COVID and no vaccine at this late moment is going to change that.”

        What really started to make me go against this article and this doctor is the way it’s been all over Twitter in the past week. People’s cruel comments about the patients in question just feel like a dog pile. The first time I saw the article, I didn’t think too much of it, other than to feel sympathy for the doctor. But after social media consensus jumped all over it, I started feeling badly for the patients.

        I’m just as angry as the next person about the non-vaxxed, but I also had a ghastly reaction to both my shots. I am STILL dealing with my reactions five months later and some times, I wonder if I’ll ever get better or if I’ll have to live with a few of the after effects for the rest of my life. I’ll never be an anti-vaxxer and I will always remain grateful for the vaccines, but at this point, I have more compassion for people who are afraid to get vaxxed than I ever thought I would.

        But anyway…

      • Hmmmp says:

        @hecate. Somewhat sobering, but an Israeli study that came out today says pfizer is only 39% effective against delta

      • Christine says:

        It’s impossible to read tone from a Facebook post. For all we know, she was sobbing as she typed, and she tells them in the kindest way possible it is too late.

        She gets heaps of the benefit of the doubt, from me, because I have been hiding at home, fully vaccinated.

      • Darla says:

        Frida, I don’t think the nurse meant it that way, but I know the kind of comments you are talking about and they are horrible and there is zero excuse for them. I have unfollowed long time follows on twitter over comments like that. Why throw your humanity away so cheaply? That’s how I feel about it.

    • Amanda says:

      It didn’t sound to me like she was being rude or snarky. Just honest. It would be unethical and unprofessional to lie — in fact, that could be setting herself and the hospital up for a lawsuit. I don’t know if you work in healthcare, but I do, and you have to be very careful what you do and say and especially what you promise. She sounded way more sympathetic than I would be to an anti-vaxxer. And I can’t imagine the stress for her of working with the dying and ravaged. I’m sure she says something like, we will do everything we can for you, but the vaccine wouldn’t have any effect or be any use at this point, so this is our plan (and explains the methods they can use).

  8. Ninks says:

    I got my second Pfizer jab yesterday and I left the vaccination centre feeling so relieved and grateful and fortunate. I can’t understand people who refuse when you know their refusal is largely based on political ideology rather than science and reason. Those leading anti vaxxers (in all countries) have blood on their hands.

    • detritus says:

      I slept like the dead after my second dose but am so happy I’ve got it.

      Kids still can’t get vaccinated so all the adults need to get their shit together and get stabbed.

  9. BayTampaBay says:

    Is the AstraZeneca vaccine approved in the USA.

    If I am vaccinated with two-jabs of AstraZeneca in an EU country, can I legally enter the USA?

    • Katherine says:

      I don’t think so yet but when Merkel was at the White House a week or so ago, Biden said that announcement Re: the EU was coming. Tho the delta variant has gotten a million times worse in just that week so who knows.

      • Sue says:

        Merkel got AZ for her first vaccination and switched to Moderna in her second. Cross-vaccination are now recommended!

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Yes, you should be able to enter the US. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend had no trouble entering the US with his AZ vax card.

      • Hmmmp says:

        @paranormalgirl but was he a us citizen or permanent resident? EU citizens are not yet allowed into the US if they are not residents or American citizens regardless of vaccine status.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @paranormalgirl – Thanks! I have a friend in Germany that received the two-jab AZ vaccine. He told be he could not come to the USA because the USA has not “approved and/or accepted” the AZ vaccine. He also stated that once the USA “approved and/or accepted” the AZ vaccine coming to the USA (Florida) would not be a problem for him.

  10. Karlie says:

    This is good news. I do have a vaccinated friend who just got the delta strain and was down a few days. Be safe out there.

  11. notasugarhere says:

    Sympathy for those who choose not to take precautions, choose not to get vaccinated? I have too many family and friends who work in medicine, most bedside.

    I have enormous sympathy for all the tireless, self-sacrificing medical workers who have spent 18 months being abused (physically, emotionally) by the anti-vaxxing, COVID isn’t real idiots across the globe. Imagine working 20 hour days, at great physical risk, to save the life of someone hitting you, screaming at you, and insisting the medical staff are lying because COVID isn’t real.

    • Anne Call says:

      Exactly. Everyone of those idiots are putting medical staff at risk once again after all the suffering and stress they have gone through. That they refuse to take a life saving vaccine and then, of course, expect doctors and nurses to battle for their lives is beyond grotesque.

      My daughter is a doctor and they have two small children. That she has to deal with unvaccinated patients makes me so angry. Luckily she is in the Bay Area which has a very high vaccination rate,

  12. ML says:

    In Europe, we had difficulty getting Moderna as it’s a US vax, and the Americans hoarded it. Therefore it’s less common here than Pfizer, AstraZeneca. However, people who have gotten it here seem to have similar success with fighting off variants of covid as those who have gotten Pfizer. In Canada, the response after the first shot of Moderna is also very similar to that of Pfizer. You’re in good hands with it!

  13. Lauren says:

    I’m getting my second shot of Pfizer in 10 days and I’m doing a countdown because of how fcking happy I am. I had a covid scare a few days ago, because I learned that someone who I had a work meeting with a couple of times is a no vaxxer and even though I took precautions I had a couple of days feeling sick (slight fever, lot’s of sneezing, fatigue, etc…) I went and got a covid tampon. Lucky for me it was negative, but until after my second jab, I’m going to keep avoiding people. You can never be too safe.

  14. Joanna says:

    I got both shots of Pfizer, it was the only one available in my area at the time. I am so glad to hear it’s effective against this new strain. They play Fox News in just about every restaurant around here and it’s a big Trump area. I know more people who won’t get the vaccine than those who will. I fully blame Fox News. So glad my family got vaccinated

  15. Gippy says:

    A friend’s mom, who was in the middle of aggressive chemo and radiation treatment for breast cancer, got COVID 6 months ago. She was succumbed to it in a week. I don’t believe the family was anti-vax, but she was unable to get it for health reasons. Not all who pass are from ignorance, and imo it makes those passing that much sadder.

  16. Leah says:

    I had the Pfizer shots in March/April. So glad I made the right choice vaccine wise and that it’s effective against delta. I’m still masking up for the indoors though, keeping well away from the unmasked and washing my hands. Those practices haven’t changed.

    I was looking forward to eating out and going to movies again until the rise in delta happened.

  17. Steph says:

    I’ve had three fully-vaxed family members (in Texas) come down with covid in the last two weeks. Keep wearing those masks!

  18. Megan says:

    I’ve been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine since march and I currently have covid. I’m about two weeks in and tested positive 6 days ago (with the PCR, not the rapid test.) I got it from my daughter who is too young to be vaccinated (she’s two days ahead of me, that’s why I think I got it from her.) The only place we took her was the community pool. I’m surprised we picked it up outdoors, but we knew it was a risk. I will say, I’m sicker than I hoped I would be with the vaccine, but it makes me so grateful that I have it! I’m sure I would have been hospitalized without the vaccine.

    • Kkat says:

      I’ve actually heard from virologists at my hospital that pools aren’t that great.
      My friend said that the cloud of virus floats across the water, indoor pools are the worst because of the humidity.
      The locker rooms with the humid showers aren’t good either.