- Millions of adults across the US are now eligible for booster shots of Pfizer‘s vaccine.
- Federal authorities are still waiting for more data on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson before recommending a boost to those vaccines.
- 4 new charts suggest it’s possible that the protection Moderna’s vaccine offers may be longer-lasting than both Pfizer and J&J.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data sets from hospitals around the country, which are starting to show that people who’ve gotten Moderna’s vaccine are less likely to be hospitalized than those with Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson.
Another CDC report released earlier in September suggested that Moderna’s two-dose vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization by 93%. For Pfizer, that figure was 88%, and for Johnson & Johnson it was 71%.
Dr. Robert Atmar, who’s leading a pivotal COVID-19 booster study at Baylor College of Medicine, says while it “wouldn’t surprise me” if J&J recipients get a booster recommendation soon, “for the Moderna, it is an open question.”
After four months, Moderna’s vaccine remained 92% effective at preventing hospitalizations, while Pfizer’s was 77% effective, and J&J’s 68%.
According to a study of hospitals in New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Indiana, and Colorado, Moderna’s vaccine is triggering far fewer hospitalizations when people aged 65 and older do get sick.
Still, this data from five veterans affairs medical centers in the US suggests that Moderna’s vaccine is superior at protecting elderly adults, with a vaccine effectiveness of 87% against hospitalization in patients aged 65 and up, whereas Pfizer is 77% effective in that same group.
Here, we can see that Moderna has been outperforming Pfizer among adults ages 30-64. From June to August, Moderna’s vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization was 99% in the 30-49 year old age group and 91% among 50-64 year olds. Pfizer’s vaccine during that same time period was roughly 82% effective among 30-49 year olds, and 84% effective among 50-64 year olds.
But in younger adults, ages 18-29, the two vaccines performed almost identically, with vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization of 82% for Moderna and 85% for Pfizer.
It’s tough to know exactly how the arrival of the Delta variant in the spring may be impacting how well vaccines work.
“We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “The most vulnerable are those unvaccinated.”