UK finds vaccines 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations in over-80s



The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations from COVID-19 in those over 80 after one dose of either shot, Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday, citing a pre-print study.

Author(s): Alistair Smout

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Why aren’t kids getting vaccinated?



While much of the world is engaged in a frantic scramble to get vaccinated against covid-19, there’s one group noticeably absent from the queues of people at vaccine clinics: children.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still approved for use only in those aged 16 years or older, and the Moderna vaccine is only for adults. Both are now in trials for younger age groups, and results are expected by the summer. The Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also due to start trials in children soon. But in a world where most vaccines are given to children under two, why is it that during a global pandemic, children are being left behind? And what does it mean for how the pandemic will unfold in adults? 

One reason children are not yet priorities for vaccination is that they are much less affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection than adults. Children make up nearly 13% of all cases reported in the United States so far, but less than 3% of all reported hospitalizations and less than 0.21% of all covid-19 deaths. When they have symptoms, they are similar to adults’—cough, fever, sore throat, and runny nose—but less severe.

Author(s): Bianca Nogrady

Publication Date: 8 February 2021

Publication Site: MIT Tech Review

Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Equally Effective for Young and Old, Israeli Study Finds



The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE is equally effective across all age groups, including those over 60, according to a new Israeli study, in a boost of confidence to global vaccine efforts.

The Pfizer vaccine provided around 94% protection against developing coronavirus symptoms across all age groups above 16 a week after the second shot of a recommended two-dose regimen, according to a study by researchers from Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and Harvard University. The study also found the vaccine is 92% effective in preventing severe disease.

The results are in line with the vaccine maker’s own clinical trial, but the large size of the study, which covered nearly 1.2 million people, provides more precise insight into older age groups that were sparsely covered by the drugmaker’s trial, according to the study’s authors.

Author(s): Dov Lieber

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

A leaked report shows Pfizer’s vaccine is conquering covid-19 in its largest real-world test



A leaked scientific report jointly prepared by Israel’s health ministry and Pfizer claims that the company’s covid-19 vaccine is stopping nine out of 10 infections and the country could approach herd immunity by next month.

The study, based on the health records of hundreds of thousands of Israelis, finds that the vaccine may sharply curtail transmission of the coronavirus. “High vaccine uptake can meaningfully stem the pandemic and offers hope for eventual control of the pandemic as vaccination programs ramp up across the rest of the world,” according to the authors.

The nationwide study was described by the Israeli news website Ynet on Thursday, and a copy was obtained by MIT Technology Review.

Author(s): Joshua Mitnick, Antonio Regalado

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: MIT Technology Review

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine may curb transmission, decrease symptomatic coronavirus cases, Israeli research shows



Israeli researchers have found that having just one shot of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine may lead to lower viral loads, making it harder to transmit COVID-19 if someone becomes infected after the first dose.

And it’s not the only positive research about the Pfizer jab to come out of Israel recently.

A separate independent Israeli study, from the country’s largest healthcare provider Clalit, found a 94 per cent drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Researchers also found the fully inoculated group was 92 per cent less likely to develop severe illness from the virus.

Author(s): Lauren Roberts

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: Australian Broadcasting Commission News

North Korea Reportedly Tried to Hack Pfizer Servers to Steal Coronavirus Vaccine



North Korea, along with the usual suspects of Russia and China, have all been accused of trying to swipe vaccine data from pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and others. “Although it claims to be free of the virus, North Korea has requested coronavirus vaccines and is set to receive nearly two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, according to the Gavi Alliance, part of the United Nations-backed Covax effort which aims to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people,” the Washington Post reports. “The statement by South Korean officials is the latest in a string of accusations against North Korean hackers for attempting to steal vaccine technology, highlighting Pyongyang’s ongoing campaign to obtain sensitive information through nefarious means and its growing cyber capabilities.”

Author(s): Elliot Hannon

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: Slate

COVID-19 Vaccine Developers Ask the SEC to Help Keep the Secret of How They Set Prices



When the U.S. government awarded over $10 billion in contracts and advance- purchase commitments to drug companies working on COVID-19 vaccine and treatments, it did not require the recipients of government money to agree to offer their products at fair prices or share intellectual property rights to enable faster production.

Now, two of the companies awarded those contracts—Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson—are trying to prevent shareholders from voting on resolutions to require the companies to disclose information about the impact of government funding on vaccine access.

Author: Julia Rock

Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: Newsweek