A single dose of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca was highly effective in staving off infection among people aged 60 and older, South Korea said Wednesday, adding to the bank of data that show the shots are working in the real world.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said people who received the Pfizer vaccine were 89.7% protected two weeks after the first dose, while the first dose of AstraZeneca was 86.0% effective.
The analysis covered 3.5 million residents 60 and older, including 521,133 people who received one dose of either vaccine. Only 29 out of 1,237 COVID-19 cases were from the vaccinated group, according to Reuters.
“Around 95 percent of people who died from the coronavirus in our country were senior citizens aged 60 or older, and the vaccines will sharply lower risks for those people,” Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho said, according to the wire service.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said seniors fully vaccinated by COVID-19 shots from Pfizer or Moderna were 94% less likely to land in the hospital from the virus than people over age 65 who were not immunized.
The agency said people who were “partially vaccinated” were 64% less likely to be hospitalized.
Recent U.S. data show 8% of people aren’t showing up for their second shot in the U.S.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says it is important for people to return for the second appointment to ensure maximum protection against the disease and thwart aggressive variants that are circulating.
Likewise, South Korean officials on Wednesday urged people to complete the two-dose course of the vaccines despite the robust protection offered by the first dose.