Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine Over 95% Effective In Israel, New Study Reportedly Shows

Israel is leading the worldwide vaccination race

Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Depositphotos.com/Wlad_Mus
Benjamin Netanyahu

TOPLINE 

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine staved off illness and death for over 95% of Israeli patients, according to government figures released Saturday from a report reviewed by multiple news outlets, encouraging news from the world’s most heavily vaccinated country.

KEY FACTS

  • Israel’s Ministry of Health studied the roughly 1.7 million Israelis who had received both shots of Pfizer’s vaccine as of the end of last month, and released a report later obtained by Reuters and several local news outlets
  • Two weeks after receiving both doses, vaccinated Israelis were 95.8% less likely to fall ill from Covid-19 and 98.9% less likely to face hospitalization or death, Reuters reported.
  • This report follows a spate of good news from Israel: The country’s main healthcare provider said Sunday vaccinated patients are 92% less likely to end up with serious Covid-19 cases than their unvaccinated peers, and a non-peer reviewed study Thursday found just one dose of the vaccine reduces the risk of infection by 75% after two weeks.

BIG NUMBER

32.4%. That’s the share of Israelis who are fully vaccinated as of Saturday, according to the New York Times’ tracker. The country ranks first in the world for vaccinations, compared to the United States’ 5.1% immunization rate.

KEY BACKGROUND

Israel is leading the worldwide vaccination race, partly due to the country’s small size, speed in buying up doses and comprehensive network of HMOs (the effort controversially doesn’t include most residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip). Public health authorities around the world are watching Israel’s progress closely, making the country the planet’s largest test case for the impact of mass-vaccination. So far, experts say there’s reason for cautious optimism: cases and hospitalizations have declined for several weeks.

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“Israel has a remarkable diminution in cases associated with the efficiency of their vaccine,” U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Researchers are still studying whether new coronavirus mutations could blunt vaccines’ effectiveness. Most drugmakers — including PfizerModernaJohnson & Johnson and Novavax — say their vaccine candidates are somewhat less effective at staving off the virus variant rapidly spreading in South Africa, though they still offer patients some protection. As a result, several companies are working on booster shots to combat emerging new strains.

TANGENT

Buoyed by a high vaccination rate, Israel is planning a partial return to normalcy next week — but only for those who have been immunized. In the coming weeks, residents who have received both Pfizer shots will get access to gyms, restaurants and bars, while those who can’t prove vaccination or prior Covid-19 infection will need to stay away from nonessential places.

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