The CDC study looked at the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential workers.

WASHINGTON — A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released on Monday shows strong evidence that mRNA coronavirus vaccines are “highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in real-world conditions.”

The CDC said the study looked at the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the only two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential workers.

The study said that of the 3,950 participants across six states, their risk of infection was reduced by 90% two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. The first dose lowered the participant’s risk of infection by 80% two or more weeks after getting the shot, the study found. 

This confirms the findings of the vaccine’s Phase 3 trial before receiving authorization in the U.S.

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“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers.”

The study, which observed the participants over a 13-week period from mid-December to mid-March, also found that about two weeks after each dose of mRNA vaccines, the human body begins to produce antibodies to protect against coronavirus. 

The Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine, which received emergency use authorization in late February, was not included in the study.

Dr. Walensky added: “These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

The CDC explained that the participants of the study self-collected nasal swabs each week for laboratory testing, regardless if they had symptoms or not. It said that the study “demonstrates that these two mRNA vaccines can reduce the risk of all SARS-CoV-2 infections, not just symptomatic infections.”

The study is the first of many on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC. Other studies are underway to evaluate the benefits of vaccines in various populations.

The study comes several days after President Joe Biden announced that his administration plans to administer 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by his 100th day in office. His original goal of 100 million doses was reached just before his 60th day in office.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The United States has more than 30 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of Monday, the U.S. had nearly 550,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 2.7 million confirmed cases with more than 2.7 million deaths.

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