Real-World Efficacy Rates for Every COVID-19 Vaccine, Based On Age and Symptoms

Vaccine efficacy rate varies from age group to age group. Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer (with the help of Germany’s BioNTech) developed three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines in record time under the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic.

These drug makers only reported overall efficacy rates of their vaccines when submitting trial data to the FDA for emergency use authorization. But as millions of shots roll out to hospitals and clinics and go into people’s arms, more data has become available and allowed scientists to evaluate the vaccines’ impact on specific groups of people. Developers of approved vaccines have also been conducting more targeted studies in order to tackle viral mutations and make existing shots available to a larger population.

On Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech said new phase 3 trial data has shown that their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 is 100 percent effective and well-tolerated in youths ages 12 to 15

The companies plan to submit the results to the FDA as soon as possible for expanded emergency use authorization hopefully before the start of the next school year. The vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use on people age 16 and older in the U.S.

Pfizer’s new data have yet to be peer-reviewed. The phase 3 trial enrolled 2,260 adolescents ages 12 to 15 evenly split into a vaccine group and a placebo group. After two doses, 18 COVID-19 cases were observed in the placebo group versus none in the vaccinated group.

Moderna is doing similar tests on adolescents and children. The company has two trials underway: one of children ages 12 to 17 and the other of those ages 6 months to 11 years. Expanded EUA for kids older than 12 could be available by July or August, estimates Buddy Creech, director of Vanderbilt University’s Vaccine Research Program and an investigator in Moderna’s pediatric trials, per CNN. Younger children will likely have to wait till November or December.

Below we’ve rounded up the latest efficacy rates of the three authorized vaccines in the U.S.—Pfizer, BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson—based on both trial and real-world data.

Pfizer-BioNTech: Overall 94% Effective

  • By Age Group:

100% for people ages 12 to 15;

95% for people age 16 and older;

94% for people age 65 and older;

61% for people 70 and older;

70% for people 80 and older.

94% effective at preventing asymptomatic infections;

97% effective at symptomatic infections, severe cases and death.

Moderna: Overall 94.5% Effective

  • By Age Group:

95.6% for people ages 18 to 65;

86.4% for people older than 65.

94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic infections;

100% effective at severe cases.

Johnson & Johnson: Overall 66% Effective (74.4% in the U.S.)

66.1% for people ages 18 to 59;

66.2% for people older and 60.

  • By Symptoms:

66% effective at preventing symptomatic infections;

85% effective at severe cases;

100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

Note: All approved vaccines are good enough for mass use and there’s no reason to favor one vaccine over another. Real-World Efficacy Rates for Every COVID-19 Vaccine, Based On Age and Symptoms