COVID vaccine found highly effective in real-world US study; where to get yours in Southern Utah

File photo by Dan Rentea/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies.

The two vaccines available since December — Pfizer and Moderna — were highly effective at 90% after two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

“This is very reassuring news,” said the CDC’s Mark Thompson, the study’s lead author. “We have a vaccine that’s working very well.”

The study is the government’s first assessment of how the shots have been working beyond the drugmakers’ initial experiments. Results can sometimes change when vaccines are used in larger, more diverse populations outside studies.

With nearly 4,000 participants from six states, the study focused on health care workers, first responders and other front-line workers who had first priority for the shots because they are at higher risk. They were given nasal swab test kits to use every week to check for signs of a coronavirus infection.

FILE – This Thursday, March 18, 2021 file photo shows syringes filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up site in the Queens borough of New York. According to results released on Monday, March 29, 2021, The U.S government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies | Associated Press file photo by Mary Altaffer, St. George News

“The evidence base for (currently available) COVID-19 vaccines is already strong, and continues to mount ever higher with studies like this one,” said David Holtgrave, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, in an email.

The study included roughly 2,500 volunteers who had completed two vaccine doses, about 500 who got one dose and about 1,000 who did not get vaccinated between mid-December and mid-March.

The researchers counted 205 infections, with 161 of them in the unvaccinated group. Of the remaining 44, the CDC said 33 of them were in people apparently infected within two weeks of a shot. Experts say it takes two weeks before a dose takes full effect.

No one died, and only two were hospitalized. Thompson did not say whether the people hospitalized were vaccinated or not.

Besides the 90% figure for two doses, the study found it was 80% effective for participants two weeks or more after a first dose.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the study’s findings “tremendously encouraging.”

“Our national vaccination efforts are working,” she said during a White House press briefing Monday. She added that over 93 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose and over 51 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Different researchers have tried to look at how the vaccines have performed in real-life conditions, including work done in Israel and the United Kingdom, and a U.S. study of Mayo Clinic patients.

In this March 25, 2021 file photo, Gov. Spencer Cox receives his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, in Spanish Fork, Utah | Photo by Rick Bowmer/Associated Press, St. George News

Unlike the Mayo study, which focused on hospitalization and death, the CDC study looked for any infection — including infections that never resulted in symptoms, or were detected before people started feeling sick.

About two-thirds of the vaccinations in the study were Pfizer shots, one-third were Moderna and five people got the newest single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson. The study was done in Miami; Duluth, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Temple, Texas; Salt Lake City; and Phoenix and other areas in Arizona.

Moderna, meanwhile, announced Monday that it had shipped its 100 millionth dose to the U.S. government, meeting its pledge to supply that amount by the end of March. The company said it expects to meet its next deadlines, of delivering another 100 million doses by the end of May and its final 100 million by the end of July.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

  • Those who can currently get first dose of the vaccine: Everyone ages 16 and over. Those 16-18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. Use vaccinefinder.org to find clinics that have the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Those who can receive the second dose: Those who received their first injection 28 days or more before the appointment time.
  • Must register in advance online for an appointment time.
  • Must have a personal ID and wear a short-sleeve shirt at appointment.
  • Proof of residency may be required, though a person does not have to reside in the county they are receiving the vaccine. Part-time residents can get vaccinated with proof of residency.
  • Vaccines are free of charge.
  • Those without email addresses or unable to make reservations online can get help at a specialized hotline at 435-986-2549.
  • To get alerts for when new vaccine appointments are added with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, text SWUHEALTH to 888777.

Washington County:

Where: St. George Active Life Center, 245 N. 200 West, St George

Reservations: Click to register 

Iron County:

Where: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wedgewood Lane, 2015 N Wedgewood Lane, Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register 

Kane County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Kanab office, 445 N. Main St., Kanab.

Reservations: Click to register 

Garfield County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Panguitch office, 601 Center St., Panguitch.

Reservations: Click to register

Beaver County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Beaver Office,  75 1175 North, Beaver.

Reservations: Click to register

St. George Regional Hospital/Intermountain Healthcare:

Where: 400 East Campus St. George Regional Hospital,  544 S. 400 East, St. George.

Reservations: Click to register

FourPoints Health:

Where: Various locations.

Reservations: Click to register

Revere Health:

Where: Revere Health Campus,  2825 E. Mall Drive, St. George.

Reservations: Click to register

Albertsons:

Where: 745 N Dixie Dr in St. George and 915 Red Cliffs Dr. in Washington City.

Reservations: Click to register

Harmons:

Where: 1189 E. 700 South in St. George and 3520 Pioneer Parkway in Santa Clara.

Reservations: Click to register

Lin’s Marketpace:

Where: 1930 W. Sunset Blvd.  and 2928 E. Mall Drive in St. George, 1120 State St. in Hurricane and 150 N Main St. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

Smith’s Food and Drug:

Where: 20 N. Bluff St. and 565 S. Mall Drive in St. George and 633 S. Main St. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

Walmart:

Where: 625 W. Telegraph St. in Washington City, 180 N. 3400 West in Hurricane and 1330 S. Providence Center Dr. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

Check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Written by MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer. St. George News contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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