New data from Israel suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech may be less effective in protecting against infections caused by the Delta viral variant, the Wall Street Journal reports. It adds, though, that the data indicates the vaccine still protects against severe disease.
Data released by the Israeli health ministry indicates that the vaccine protected 64 percent of vaccinated individuals against infection during a Delta variant outbreak there and 94 percent were protected against severe illness, the Journal says. It notes that more than 80 percent of the adult Israeli public is vaccinated, mostly with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and that, while Israel has been experiencing an uptick in cases, its caseload remains low as compared to other countries.
The Journal adds that data from the UK, where the Delta variant is now prevalent, indicates that full vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines reduces the risk of symptomatic disease and hospitalization. In particular, the Washington Post notes that Public Health England researchers found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic disease due to the Delta variant.
Still, the Post notes that a dip in effectiveness against the variant might "have serious implications for countries betting almost entirely on mass immunization campaigns — as well as poorer nations that have barely started their own vaccine drives."