New study finds Pfizer is less effective in over 50s

Jul 21, 2021
Are all vaccines equal? Research suggest they may not be. Source: Getty

Many older Aussies have been holding out for the Pfizer vaccine following news the AstraZeneca jab may lead to worrying blood clots, but new research suggests it may not be as effective for those over 50.

In early April, the government advised under 50s to avoid AstraZeneca — later updated to under 60s — following confirmation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) that the vaccine may cause extremely rare but potentially deadly blood clots. The decision left over-60s in Australia with only one vaccine option, as Pfizer was reserved for younger generations.

With 40 million doses of Pfizer expected to arrive by the end of the year, many older Aussies have opted to wait, but new research may make you think twice.

According to a team of researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, about 90 per cent of new Covid-19 cases in over-50s were people who had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, The Times reports.

The researchers said the findings suggested that the Pfizer vaccine may be less effective in older people, but admitted it would need more analysis before they could reach any definitive conclusion. “It seems there’s a reduced efficiency of the vaccine, at least for part of the population,” the team said.

In early July, Israel’s Health Ministry lowered its projections of just how effective the vaccine was against the virus, warning that the vaccine is “significantly less” effective against the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a nationwide ramp-up of the vaccine roll out, revealing that Australians will have access to up to a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week and, by Christmas, every Australian will have been offered a vaccine.

Pfizer later clarified that the ramp up did not change the number of total vaccines contracted, stating that it had committed 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Australia over 2021 and were “on track” to deliver the remaining doses by the end of the year.

Currently, 11 per cent (2.9 million) of the eligible population are fully vaccinated and 35.7 per cent (7.3 million) have received their first vaccine dose. About 60 per cent of over 50s, 68 per cent of over 60s and 75.5 per cent of over 70s have now received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Have you had your vaccine yet?

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up