A real-world test of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in more than half a million people confirms that it’s very effective at preventing serious illness or death, even after one dose.
Wednesday’s published results, from a mass vaccination campaign in Israel, give strong reassurance that the benefits seen in smaller, limited testing persisted when the vaccine was used much more widely in a general population with various ages and health conditions.
The vaccine was 92% effective at preventing severe disease after two shots and 62% after one. Its estimated effectiveness for preventing death was 72% two to three weeks after the first shot, a rate that may improve as immunity builds over time.
It seemed as effective in folks over 70 as in younger people.
In other developments:
- President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus, part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government’s response to the pandemic.
- Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine offers strong protection against severe COVID-19, according to an analysis released Wednesday by U.S. regulators that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic.
- States not willing to wait for pandemic financial relief from the federal government have taken matters into their own hands. Maryland and California recently approved help for small businesses, the poor, the jobless and those needing child care. New Mexico and Pennsylvania are also funneling grants directly to cash-starved businesses.
- As the coronavirus pandemic exploded worldwide last April, global organizations banded together to help ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people would get vaccines amid the rush for shots. But problems remain.
- The European Union is still struggling to get its COVID-19 vaccine drive up to speed. EU leaders are meeting on Thursday to try to rev up the process, fearing that new virus variants might spread faster than Europe’s response.
- Older people are learning to shop online for the first time during the pandemic. Spending for people 65 and older shot up 60% last year from a year earlier.