HAVING a third dose of the Pfizer Covid jab ‘turbocharges’ your protection against the Delta variant, experts have found.
Scientists at the pharmaceutical company said older adults who got a third dose had 11 times more protection than those who had two.
The data was published as part of Pfizer’s second quarter earnings report and has not yet been scientifically reviewed.
After the second dose of the jab, the experts said the vaccine remains ‘strongly protective’ for six months.
It did however state that efficacy does deplete after time – which is one reason why the UK has been trialling a third jab on those who received their first dose at the start of the rollout in December 2020.
Around 44,000 people took part in the latest Pfizer clinical trials.
The data found that protection from the jabs dropped gradually every two months.
It started at 96 per cent efficacy two months after patients had two jabs.
Efficacy then dropped to 90 per cent after four months and 84 per cent after six months.
In adults aged up to 55, the experts said protection against the Delta variant was five times higher if they got a third dose of the jab.
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When it comes to those over the age of 55 the experts had to use a smaller sample of participants but found that a third dose in this group meant 11 times the protection.
The Pfizer jab was the first vaccine to be rolled out in the UK in December last year.
Earlier this month an Israeli paper found that the Pfizer jab was less effective at protecting people from the Delta variant than previous strains such as Alpha.
Effectiveness in stopping cases of Delta and symptomatic disease fell to 64 per cent, as of June 6.
But the vaccine is still 93 per cent effective at preventing serious illness or hospitalisations.
Israel’s Health Ministry released the study after a rise in infections the coincided with the country ending social distancing restrictions.
A Pfizer spokesperson declined to comment on the data from Israel, but cited other research showing that antibodies elicited by the vaccine were still able to neutralise all tested variants, including Delta, albeit at reduced strength.
No vaccine is 100 per cent effective but it has been proven that coronavirus vaccine protect people from severe illness and hospitalisation.
So far in the UK over 46.6 million people have had a first dose of a vaccine, with 37.6 million now having had a second.
Last month it was revealed that plans for a Covid booster jab plan would be revealed.
Former health secretary Matt Hancock said that second jabs offer very strong protection “but there is more protection still that we think that you can get from a booster jab and we’re currently trialling which combinations of jabs are the most effective”.
“When we know the results of that, then we will set out the full plans for the booster programme over the autumn,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure we get the logistics right; for instance, GPs have been so heavily involved in this vaccination effort, but GPs have also got to do their day job, so that’s something we’re working hard on now, and, in the next few weeks, when we get the clinical data through on what’s the most effective combinations to have… then we’ll set out all the details of the booster programme for the autumn.”
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned the health service needs time to plan for vaccine booster campaigns to make them “business as usual” instead of “emergency response”.