MANILA, Philippines – Available vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are “still very useful’ in helping stem the spread of severe respiratory illness despite a decrease in their efficacy against coronavirus variants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.
In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the taped weekly briefing on Monday night, FDA director general Eric Domingo reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines remain effective despite a slight decrease in their efficacy, particularly against the Alpha and Delta variants.
Citing studies on the efficacy of the vaccines, the FDA chief said the data indicate that the US-made Pfizer vaccine has a high efficacy rate of about 95 percent against the original COVID-causing virus.
Against the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, Pfizer’s vaccine efficacy rate decreased to somewhere less than 10 to 20 percent, Domingo said.
For the Beta variant, which was first reported in South Africa, Pfizer’s vaccine efficacy rate dropped by 20 to 30 percent.
Against the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, Pfizer’s vaccine efficacy rate declined to about 10 to 20 percent.
“Ibig sabihin po maganda pa rin naman po ang kanyang coverage,” Domingo said.
US-made Moderna vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent against the original virus but is 10 to 20 percent less effective against Alpha and Delta variants, and 20 to 30 percent against Beta.
British-Swede-made AstraZeneca vaccine has an efficacy rate of 74 percent is less than 10 to 20 percent effective against Alpha and Delta variants, and 20 to 30 percent against Beta.
Russia-made Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of about 91 percent but is less than 10 percent effective against Alpha variant, and 20-30 percent against Beta variant. Its efficacy rate against Delta variant is still being studied.
Single dose US-made Janssen vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70.3 percent against the original virus but is less than 10-20 percent effective against Alpha, up to 30% less effective against Beta, and less than 10 percent against Delta variant.
China-made Sinovac has an efficacy rate of 83.5 percent against the original strain, based on recently concluded trial in Turkey. Against Alpha variant, it was found to be less than 10 percent effective, and 10-30 percent against Beta. No available data yet on its efficacy rate against the Delta variant.
Another China-made vaccine, Sinopharm has a 76.29 percent efficacy rate against the original coronavirus strain, but less than 10 percent effective against the Alpha variant and up to 20 percent less effective against Beta. Its efficacy against the Delta variant is still being studied.
“Ang mga variant po, nababawasan nang kaunti ‘yung efficacy ng vaccine pero hindi naman po siya nawawala ‘no, nagiging very useful pa rin naman po,” Domingo said.
The FDA chief then urged the public to get vaccinated as available jabs offer a certain degree of protection against COVID-19.