The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assured the public that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are still useful in battling COVID-19 despite recent studies showing a dip in its efficacy against newer variants of the virus. 

FDA’s Director-General Eric Domingo said studies have shown that both vaccines are slightly less effective against mutated variants of the COVID-19 virus, specifically the Alpha and Delta variants. 

Pfizer’s vaccine retained a 93 percent efficacy against the Alpha variant of coronavirus, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, its effectivity fell to 88 percent for the Delta variant, which caused India’s second surge. 

AstraZeneca’s vaccine experienced a bigger decrease with its efficacy falling to 66 percent for the Alpha variant and only 60 percent for the Delta variant.

According to Domingo, the efficacy rate of the anti-coronavirus shots drops when new mutations occur. However, he insists that these vaccines are still viable options to stop the spread of the virus in the country. 

“There’s a decreasing efficacy as we get more mutations but hindi naman po nawawala ang bisa ng bakuna. It’s still a useful vaccine,” Domingo explained during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Lahat ng bakunang ito wala nawawalan completely ng bisa even with the Delta variant kaya gusto nating igiit na unang-una… in case may makapasok (na variant), we should all get vaccinated with the vaccines available now because this will still help us stop the spread,” he added.

On Monday (June 21), the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the presence of the more infectious variant of COVID-19 – Delta – in the Philippines. The health agency said 17 cases have been confirmed so far. 

For the Alpha variant, the DOH said the tally of cases has reached 1,085. 

Want more news like this one? Head over to Nation Builder PH Breaking News Section for the latest updates.

Image credit: Lisa Marie David / NurPhoto via Getty Images