The Air Rescue Team of FEMERAID International informs all our members, Knights and Dames of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) about the followings:

As expected, the new variants of COVID-19 have become the dominant strains of the virus worldwide in just a few months since first being observed. This happens before the vast majority of countries with vaccination programs have made sufficient progress to achieve effective levels of group immunity.

Ongoing research has confirmed what was most feared; vaccines that are now approved against the original COVID-19 virus strain, and widely available, do not offer equal protection against the variants, particularly those of the South Africa and Brazil strains.

  • The Pfizer vaccine has about a 2/3 reduction in effectiveness
  • The Moderna vaccine protects six times less against the South African variant

Both companies are currently developing a new dose of vaccine that can cover these dominant variants.

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested in South Africa when the variant dominated. From this we know that it offers approx. 64% protection against this variant.
  • The Novavax vaccine, which offered 89% protection against the original COVID-19 strain, and 85.6% against the British variant, is reported to offer less than 50% for the South African variant.

It is evident that the world has pulled back by about 6 months in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and that we are just as exposed now as we were then.

The common weapon, to slow down the rising curve of new cases and to avoid a dreaded 4th wave of the pandemic worldwide, is the stricter reinforcing of all the well-known hygiene measures; social distancing, regular hand-washing and the correct use of masks in public and work space areas.

Keep Safe!

8th March 2021