Israeli Study Finds Vaccine Vulnerable to COVID-19 Variant
An Israeli study published Saturday night has found that the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, already administered to millions of Israelis, may be less effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus. The research compared hundreds of people who received at least one of the two required Pfizer shots and still contracted the virus with hundreds of patients who got sick and had not been vaccinated at all, and found that the South African variant was eight times more prevalent among the first group. “We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared with the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” Tel Aviv University’s Adi Stern, who led the study, said. Still, the researchers cautioned that the analysis contained only a small sample size, and did not touch on overall vaccine effectiveness against other variants. Israel is over the worst of the pandemic, thanks to more than half of its population receiving both doses of the Pfizer shot. The country’s economy and school system have almost entirely returned to normal.