A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in use in the U.S. prevent 90% of infections from the coronavirus, including asymptomatic infections.
The study followed 3,950 health care personnel, first responders and other essential workers who took nasal swabs very week for 13 weeks to see if they would still be infected with the virus once they were vaccinated.
The results showed an 80% reduction in infections two weeks after receiving the first dose of either vaccine, and 90% reduction two weeks after the second dose.
Only 10% of those infected after being vaccinated were asymptomatic, which shows that huge amounts of asymptomatic spread among those vaccinated was not a big concern.
Vaccine efforts are working
“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working. The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
“These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic,” Walensky said.
The study results are consistent with those from Israel, where much of the population was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine in January.
As new cases of the virus have risen slightly higher in recent weeks after a long downturn, ten states have announced that they will open vaccines to any adults above age 16.
States lifting age restrictions on vaccines
Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas lifted restrictions on Monday, and Minnesota, Indiana, South Carolina and Connecticut will do so later this week. California will lower the minimum age for vaccination to 50 on Thursday as well.
More than 143 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. so far, and a quarter of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine since it was rolled out in mid-December.
President Joe Biden has set a goal that all adults will be eligible for the vaccine by May 1, and also announced that 90% of adults will be eligible by April 19.
As more younger adults become eligible for the vaccine, the small uptick in virus cases should reverse and cases should begin to decline again in the next few months. Hospitalizations and deaths from the virus should also decrease dramatically, because the vaccines prevent nearly 100% of serious infections and deaths from the virus.