The risk of being exposed to the breakthrough Delta variant of COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated with Moderna’s vaccine may be much lower than the risk for people who received Pfizer’s vaccine, according to a new Mayo Clinic study that is reportedly awaiting a full review.
The study found that in July in Florida, where COVID-19 cases were at an all-time high and the “Delta” variant was common, Moderna vaccinators had a 60 percent lower risk of breakthrough cases compared to Pfizer vaccinators.
Similarly, in Minnesota last month, the authors found that Moderna’s vaccine (also known as MRNA-1273) was 76 percent effective in preventing infection, but Pfizer’s vaccine (known as BNT162b2) was 42 percent effective.
The authors write in their abstract: “In Mayo Clinic Health System sites in multiple states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, and Iowa), comparing infection rates between fully vaccinated matched individuals with THE BNT162b2 vaccine, mrN-1273 versus BNT162b2, Can reduce the risk of breakthrough infection by 50 percent.”
To be sure, the authors found that both vaccines “strongly protected” people from serious diseases; The difference seems to be more about whether people get infected in the first place. According to the CENTERS for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unvaccinated people have an eight-fold higher risk of infection, and a 25-fold higher risk of hospitalization or death.
The so-called preprint study, which has not been peer reviewed or published in an academic journal, was first published on Sunday, but gained more attention on Wednesday when Axios reported that the Biden administration was using the data as a “wake-up call.”
Pfizer told Axios that it and partner BioNTech “expect to be able to develop and manufacture a customized vaccine for this variant within approximately 100 days of the decision, subject to regulatory approval.” In a subsequent statement, the company confirmed the effectiveness of its vaccine and said it was also committed to developing a booster shot.
“Pfizer and BioNTech have implemented a strong program of enhanced needle research to ensure that our vaccines continue to provide the highest possible level of protection.” “Preliminary data from the current third dose of the vaccine suggest that high school and titers for wild type, Beta and Delta variants can be obtained by administering a booster dose at least six months after the second dose,” Pfizer said in a statement.
Just last week, Moderna warned that breakthrough infections were on the rise and said those who get its vaccine may need a booster shot before winter. And late last month, Pfizer said a booster shot already in testing would work against the Delta variant.
Data from New Jersey earlier this week highlighted these key points, with Delta cases now accounting for 90% of all COVID-19 test positive samples. Breakthrough infections are still a small percentage of new COVID-19 inpatients, but they have risen significantly in recent weeks.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said fully vaccinated New Jerseyans accounted for 18.5 percent of all new COVID-19 cases between July 20 and 26. More importantly. These cases accounted for 3% of all new hospitalizations.
Murphy noted On Monday that the data proves the vaccine works, but for many, the fact that even 3 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have been vaccinated is a worrying fact — as is the trend in breakthrough cases. Between July 20 and July 26, 3 percent of those vaccinated were hospitalized with the virus, a significant increase from the rate of 0.004 percent before July 26.
Of the more than 10.6 million doses administered so far in New Jersey, Pfizer’s vaccine has accounted for 30 percent, while Moderna’s vaccine has accounted for about 21 percent, according to state data.