KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — A real-world study conducted among health care workers in Malaysia showed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19, Dr Adham Baba said today.
The study on 426 Ministry of Health (MOH) health care personnel with Covid-19 conducted this year also showed that the Pfizer vaccine has a 65 per cent efficacy rate after the first dose, added the health minister.
“For 21 days after the second dose, the efficacy rate for Pfizer is 95 per cent,” Dr Adham said during the weekly press conference on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) today.
“This shows that the effectiveness of the Pfzier vaccine is very high and it’s convincing that protection can be given to those who receive the vaccine.”
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a recent statement on the MOH study, said that 40 health care workers contracted Covid-19 after receiving two doses of the vaccine which he did not name, including nine who were found to be infected more than two weeks after getting the second dose.
This caused numerous concerns among the public on Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and the need to take the jab. The Health DG did not explicitly mention other details from a graphic he posted on the study that showed 244 people, or 57 per cent, of participants with Covid-19 were not vaccinated.
Dr Adham clarified today that the health care workers in the study who tested positive for Covid-19 after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine had contracted the virus in the community and were tested after developing mild symptoms.
“For the nine people who got Covid-19 after the second dose, they got Covid-19 after being vaccinated without being aware [of symptoms] and when we tested, they were positive,” the health minister said, referring to the two per cent of study participants who completed vaccination.
The health minister did not explain if the MOH study also showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was effective in preventing asymptomatic Covid-19 infection, besides symptomatic infection.
A recent United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study among 3,950 health care personnel and other frontliners found that the risk of infection of Covid-19 reduced by 90 per cent two weeks or more after vaccination with the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, while the risk of infection reduced by 80 per cent two weeks or more after the first dose.
The CDC real-world study also demonstrated that mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna shots) could reduce both asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid-19 infections, as 58 per cent of infections occurred among people whose infections were identified by testing before they developed symptoms or knew they were infected.