May 21, 2021. Student nurse Dario Gomez, center, disinfects a chair after administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at Providence Edwards Lifesciences vaccination site in Santa Ana, Calif. U.S.AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

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More good vaccine news is here: According to new data, the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has “high levels of effectiveness” against the highly transmissible variant found in India. The data, from Public Health England, an agency in the UK department of health, studied Pfizer’s efficacy after two doses and found it was 88 percent effective in preventing symptomatic cases of the B.1.617.2 variant. 

Researchers found that the Pfizer shot is also highly effective against B.117, the variant first found in the UK, preventing 93 percent of symptomatic cases. And as with other variants, “even higher levels of effectiveness are expected against hospitalisation and death” after the second dose, according to the UK officials. Researchers also studied the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been used widely in the UK but has not yet been approved in the US; data shows it was was 60 percent effective against the B.1.617.2 variant, and 66 percent effective against B.117.

While the number of coronavirus cases and deaths have dropped in the United States as more people get vaccinated, the pandemic is not over yet. Other countries across the world are seeing the opposite trajectory, with more deaths and more confirmed cases. As Saturday’s announcement confirmed the efficacy of the vaccines against new variants, we passed the 165 million mark of coronavirus cases worldwide. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that globally almost 3.5 million people have died from the virus. 

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