CLEVELAND, Ohio — Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that the latest data from their Phase 3 clinical trials shows their vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months, while a study suggests the U.K. variant of the coronavirus could soon become the dominant strain in America.
Cleveland.com is rounding up some of the most notable coronavirus news making headlines online. Here’s what you need to know for Friday, April 2.
Pfizer vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months
The ongoing Phase 3 trial for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine found it was 91.3% effective at preventing a COVID-19 infection for at least six months after the second dose. The vaccine was also highly effective at preventing infection in South Africa, where a troubling coronavirus variant is prevalent.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they will continue to monitor the participants in the trial to determine how long the vaccine remains effective.
U.K. variant is spreading rapidly in U.S., study finds
The more contagious U.K. variant of the coronavirus is roughly doubling in prevalence each week and could become the most dominant variant in America, according to a study published in the journal Cell. Scientists from Scripps Research partnered with COVID-19 test manufacturer Helix on the study, which found the U.K. variant may be 40 to 50% more transmissible than the typical version of the coronavirus. Other studies have also found the variant is more likely to cause death.
Biden Administration campaign will combat vaccine hesitancy
The Biden Administration announced Thursday that it will partner with community organizations, religious leaders and celebrities to promote the COVID-19 vaccine in hard-hit areas. The “We Can Do This” campaign will also feature TV and social media ads, according to ABC News. Many Americans are still hesitant to get the vaccine, with a recent Carnegie Mellon University survey finding around 23% are still skeptical.
FDA approves two rapid, at-home coronavirus tests
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a pair of coronavirus tests that can be used at home and promise quick results. Abbott’s BinaxNOW and Quidel’s QuickVue could soon be available to buy over the counter, according to NPR. Both tests are rapid antigen tests; experts say those types of tests are less reliable than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, but they have the advantage of being quick and easy to access.
One in five Americans did not seek medical treatment during pandemic due to cost
Approximately 20% of Americans who responded to a recent West Health-Gallup survey said they did not seek medical treatment for a health issue they experienced during the coronavirus pandemic because of the cost. Roughly the same number said they would not be able to afford health care if they needed it today.
Americans who were unemployed during the pandemic were nearly twice as likely to say they did not seek medical treatment, with 38% saying it cost too much while they were out of work.