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(Jordan Vonderhaar)

As the more contagious Delta variant sweeps the nation and is partially responsible for a local surge in COVID cases, a new study suggests vaccines are less effective than originally believed against it.

All three available vaccines in the U.S. were originally approved under emergency use with a varrying amount of effectiveness. And as new strains entered the picture, researchers found they were still effective. However, the latest study by nference and the Mayo Clinic compared Pfizer and Moderna vaccine effectiveness in the Mayo Clinic Health System over time from January to July:

  • The Pfizer shot, approved at 95% effectiveness, showed to be 76% effective against infection during that time period; and 85% effective against hospitalization
  • The Moderna shot, approved at 94% effectiveness, showed to be 86% during that time period; and 92% effective against hospitalization
  • The Johnson & Johnson was approved at 66% effectiveness and was not used in the study
However, when Delta became the dominant strain in July alone, that effectiveness against infection dropped to 42% in Pfizer and 76% in Moderna.

While the Moderna vaccine shows to be more effective, it is unclear if there is a reduction in effectiveness over time or due to the new variant itself. "Based on the data that we have so far, it is a combination of both factors," said Venky Soundararajan, a lead author of the study.

More research is still being conducted on the new info collected.

Breakthrough cases, when someone contracts the virus while vaccinated, are still less common in the community. Local health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as breakthrough cases are proving to show less severe symptoms. Almost all in the Austin metro ICUs are unvaccinated, according to officials.


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