‘Really excellent news’: Moderna, Pfizer vaccines better than previously thought, study shows

A new study released Monday shows the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are better than previously thought at protecting you from COVID-19.

Previously, health experts said two doses of either vaccine would be 95% effective at preventing severe illness or death.

University of South Florida epidemiologist Dr. Jason Salemi said this new study was looking at something else.

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“It’s not just that these vaccines are protecting you from getting severely ill or dying, they’re actually protecting you from getting the virus in the first place,” said Dr. Salemi.

The CDC studied nearly 4,000 essential workers who got either vaccine between mid-December and mid-March. Researchers found people were 80% protected from getting COVID-19 two weeks after the first dose, then 90% protected two weeks after the second dose.

They said you’d receive the same level of protection against the more transmissible variants from the U.K. and Brazil. Florida currently has the most cases of those variants.

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“This is really excellent news,” Dr. Salemi said, because it means if most vaccinated people won’t get COVID-19 at all, they can’t spread it to others.

Before this new study, researchers thought there was a good chance you could still get it and spread it, just with little to no symptoms.

The study comes as cases in Florida are starting to rise again.

READ: COVID-19 vaccine appointments delayed for underserved west Orange County residents

Salemi said there’s been about a 12% increase in the 18-49 age range in the number of daily cases. That’s about 550 additional cases per day around the state.

Cases are rising the fastest in Orange County among the five biggest counties in the state, but “it’s hard to say” why, Salemi said.

The CDC will likely do another effectiveness study specifically for Johnson & Johnson.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.