Data Indicate Omicron Is Milder, Better at Evading Vaccines


JOHANNESBURG (AP) – An analysis of data from South Africa shows the omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus, and the Pfizer vaccine seems to offer less defense against infection from it but still good protection against hospitalization.

While the findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed, they line up with other early data about omicron’s behavior, including that it seems to be more easily transmitted.

A two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination appeared to provide just 33% protection against infection during South Africa’s current omicron wave, but 70% protection against hospitalization.

The analysis was conducted by Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurer, and the South African Medical Research Council.

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