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France 24

Israel investigation announces Pfizer jabs effectiveness as country fights Covid disinformation

Israel’s largest healthcare provider said on Sunday that a survey of more than half a million fully vaccinated Israelis showed that the Pfizer / BioNTech jab provided 94 percent protection against Covid-19. But the country is stepping up its efforts to combat disinformation as pockets of anti-wax sentiment threaten the success of the jab rollout. Clalit Health Services said the researchers in a groundbreaking project tested 600,000 subjects who had received the recommended two doses of the US-German Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and the same number of people who had not been inoculated. “There was a 94 percent reduction in the rate of symptomatic infection and a 92 percent decrease in the number of serious diseases compared to 600,000 similar (subjects) who were not vaccinated,” Clalit said in a Hebrew statement. Vaccine efficacy is maintained in all age groups, including those aged 70+, “it added. Israel’s mass vaccination campaign has seen 3.8 million people receive a first dose, while 2.4 million have also received a second shot. The country of 9 million people , which is currently easing the restrictions imposed during its third nationwide shutdown, aims to vaccinate anyone over the age of 16 by the end of March. >> How the EU’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout became a ‘Brexit’ announcement ” “Preliminary results at this stage are intended to emphasize to the unvaccinated population that the vaccine is highly effective and prevents serious morbidity,” Clalit said on Sunday, adding that the study included people who had received the second shot at least seven days before. they were tested, and would be expanded in the future. “With each additional week that passes, we will be able to make the assessment more accurate.” The accuracy will le get better when subjects are tested after 14 days or more from the second dose, it said. Israel has so far relied only on the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, although it has a small population of the vaccine developed by the American biotech company Moderna. Israel secured abundant supply of vaccine from Pfizer after entering into a data sharing agreement with the US manufacturer. State, which has one of the world’s most sophisticated medical data systems, will share real-time information with Pfizer about the vaccine’s impact, including advances in herd immunity. is the largest of Israel’s four healthcare providers, providing healthcare to the entire population. They are directly responsible for vaccinations and data collection on their impact. “Will you be vaccinated with me?” But in a cause for concern, Israel has seen a drop in prices over the past two weeks. So far in February, Israel averaged just over 106,000 vaccinations a day, down from January’s daily average of more than 127,000 a day, according to health ministry statistics. Israel’s Ministry of Health, which is spearheading the vaccination effort, uses both warnings and incentives as it tries to persuade reluctant holdouts to be vaccinated. It has strengthened a digital task force to counter false claims about the vaccines. Concerts and museums may soon be without limits for the unvaccinated. At the same time, the authorities are developing incentives for people to get jab. The Ministries of Health and Culture said on Sunday that museums, libraries, concert halls and other cultural events will reopen later this month – but only to those who have been fully vaccinated. The Ministry of Health is also recruiting dozens of Israeli social media influences to promote immunization in concert with its own online video campaign. >> New strain of Covid-19 triple infections despite UK lockdown A new message released on Valentine’s Day showed a man presenting his girlfriend with a small box that appears to contain an engagement ring. “Are you getting vaccinated with me?” he asks as she opens the box to find a vial of vaccine. “Decide if you are part of the celebration or if you will be left behind,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Twitter. “Just put your shoulder on the vaccine.” Reluctance of some groups in the population to be vaccinated is a key reason why infection rates remain high. In the case of the ultra-Orthodox, some influential religious leaders have urged their followers not to be immunized. Meanwhile, Israel’s Arab minorities tend to suffer from a lack of trust in the Jewish leadership. And younger Israelis often think they can’t get seriously ill. Rabbi Yuval Hacohen Asherov, a popular Jewish preacher with an online supporter who has declared that bacteria do not cause disease, has posted several anti-vaccine videos with hundreds of thousands of views. A recent video mistakenly claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine caused death. “Why run? Why vaccinate now? Let’s do it in another half year – maybe. Let’s see what happens, “said Ashrov. “Why should Swiss and Chinese use us as guinea pigs to see what happens?” The Ministry of Health has asked the Ministry of Justice to try to get Asherov’s videos pulled from YouTube, saying he “threatens the public” (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP )

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