Israeli study finds 94% reduction in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Vial labeled “COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and a syringe seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken February 9, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s largest healthcare provider on Sunday reported a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in the country’s largest study to date.

The health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit, which covers more than half of all Israelis, said the same group was also 92% less likely to develop serious illness due to the virus.

The comparison was against a group of the same size with matching medical histories who had not received the vaccine.

“It shows unequivocally that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is extremely effective in the real world one week after the second dose, just as it turned out in the clinical study,” said Ran Balicer, Clalit’s Chief Innovation Officer.

He added that the data indicate that the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, is even more effective two weeks or more after the second shot.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, which has provided national data, said Sunday that a sharp drop in hospitalization and serious illness identified earlier among the first age group to be vaccinated – 60 years or older – was seen for the first time in those aged 55 and over.

Admissions and serious illness still increased in younger groups who began vaccinations weeks later.

Israel has carried out a rapid rollout of the vaccine, and its database provides insight into vaccine effectiveness and at what point countries can obtain flock immunity.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Maayan Lubell; Clip by David Goodman

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