Covid-19 infection rates fall with more vaccination but jabs less efficacious against Beta variant: Report

A report done by JP Morgan published a chart showing a drop in new daily infections as more people were vaccinated in several countries.
A report done by JP Morgan published a chart showing a drop in new daily infections as more people were vaccinated in several countries.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Data has shown that Covid-19 infection rates have come down in countries using the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines, but the efficacy of these vaccines shrinks substantially against the Beta variant of the coronavirus.

A report done by JP Morgan, last updated on Friday (June 11), was cited by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Saturday. He wrote that it is encouraging that the higher the vaccination rate, the lower the infection rate.

The report published a chart showing a drop in new daily infections as more people were vaccinated in several countries, including Britain, the United States and Germany.

"It shows an encouraging picture... Of course, non-medical measures such as social distancing and mask wearing still matter," Mr Ong said.

The report also gave an update on topics such as vaccine efficacy against variants of the virus, as well as on mRNA vaccines, how they work and their side effects.

The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have all shown reduced effectiveness against the Beta variant - first detected in South Africa - in laboratory studies. How much of this translates to a real world reduction in effectiveness is unclear.

These companies are reportedly reconfiguring their vaccines to see if they can boost results, the report added. While the Beta variant has minimal spread so far in the US, it has begun to spread more widely in France and Japan.

There was no information given on the vaccines' efficacy against the Delta variant, the predominant strain in Singapore now. The Delta variant was first identified in India.