Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson remain confident in their respective COVID-19 vaccines’ ability to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death amid the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, the companies told Fox News.
Following recent outbreaks in Massachusetts, in which nearly three-quarters of some 469 COVID-19 cases occurred in fully vaccinated individuals, federal officials involved with the country’s COVID-19 response and some vaccine drugmakers are emphasizing that the shots remain protective against serious outcomes.
Pfizer declined to comment on the data released in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, but told Fox News in an emailed statement, “The vaccine continues to be highly efficacious in preventing COVID-19, including variants and to date, no variant, including Delta, appears to have escaped the protection of the vaccine. Furthermore, two doses of BNT162b2 continue to show high efficacy from preventing severe disease and hospitalizations.”
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson backed the change in federal mask guidance and upheld the power of vaccination.
“All authorized COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to help prevent infection and reduce the severity of illness, which is why COVID-19 vaccinations are such an important tool to help end the pandemic,” J&J wrote to Fox News. “As noted by the CDC, though a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated can still get COVID-19, developing severe illness is still a rare occurrence.”
“Of the 469 cases of breakthrough infections observed in the town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, only 1.2% were hospitalized. As of July 27, no deaths were reported in the cases the CDC studied, which is a sign vaccination is working as intended,” the statement continues.
When prompted by Fox News, Moderna didn’t speak directly to breakthrough infections but emphasized that safety of products is “paramount,” and the company is monitoring safety across all products in practice and in trials.
The comments come after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, reiterated Monday that “this remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” with unvaccinated Americans largely driving recent transmission and accounting for the vast majority of new hospitalizations and recent deaths.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, as of July 26, the CDC received 6,587 reports of breakthrough infections that resulted in hospitalization or death against a backdrop of 163 million fully vaccinated people, translating to 0.01% or less.