A STUDY involving almost half a million people has been carried out to determine which of the two most popular vaccines are more effective against the Covid-19 virus.

The Pfizer-BionTech and Moderna comparison was done using medical histories of 439,684 American citizens that had received one jab or the other.

Although both were very effective in preventing infection, hospitalization, and death, the Moderna vaccine was found to offer a higher level of protection.

Also, it had 21% lower risk of infection and 41% lower risk of hospitalisation, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. JP Casas, one of the research team said: “Both vaccines are incredibly effective [but] regardless of the predominant strain (Alpha or Delta), Moderna was shown to be slightly more effective.”

Five possible outcomes were measured on 219,842 people that had the Pfizer jab, against the same number that had the Moderna vaccine, between January and May 2021.

  • Documented COVID-19
  • Symptomatic illness
  • Hospitalization
  • ICU admission
  • Death

During the 24 weeks after their jab, each person’s medical records were studied to get the conclusions.

The risk of documented infection was 4.52 for every 1,000 people in the Moderna vaccine group and 5.75 per 1,000 in the Pfizer group. 

Researchers also observed a slight excess of symptomatic covid, hospitalization, admission to the ICU and death per 1,000 people in the Pfizer group compared to the Moderna group.

Strong benefits

Both vaccines were still highly effective against symptomatic covid infection (95% effective for Pfizer, 94% for Moderna ).

Dr.  Barbra. A. Dickerman , an epidemiology instructor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said: “”Given the high efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, either one is recommended to anyone who is offered a choice.”

However, although the estimated efficacy differences were small on an absolute scale, the results can be useful for the broader decision-making bodies.

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