Data analysis indicates omicron is milder, better at evading vaccines – CBC

South African analysis shows Pfizer jabs protect 70% against hospitalization from omicron

Dec 14, 2021

The omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus, and the Pfizer vaccine seems to offer less defence against infection from it but still good protection from hospitalization, according to an analysis of data from South Africa, where the new variant is driving a surge in infections.

While the findings released Tuesday are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed — the gold standard in scientific research — they line up with other early data about omicron’s behaviour, including that it seems to be more easily transmitted.

A two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination appeared to provide just 33 per cent protection against infection during South Africa’s current omicron wave, but 70 per cent protection against hospitalization, according to the analysis conducted by Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurer, and the South African Medical Research Council.

The data was gathered from Nov. 15 to Dec. 7, during which time omicron was first spotted by scientists in South Africa and Botswana, and may change as time passes.

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