Israel health chiefs stunning vaccine effectiveness results after 2nd jab-‘so encouraging’

Israel: Bar offering free drink with coronavirus vaccine

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Vaccinations against COVID-19 are a global focus, with countries desperate to prevent further outbreaks and future lockdowns. The emergence of highly contagious strains caused concern worldwide and plunged the UK back into lockdown for a third time – with coronavirus vaccines touted as the route out of restrictions. Now the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has shown “stunning” results in a series of data from the Israel Health Ministry.

The data shows more than 90 percent effectiveness of the vaccine in terms of preventing coronavirus, preventing hospital admissions due to COVID-19 and preventing deaths from the deadly virus among others.

The results show 14 days after being given a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine:

  • 95.8 percent effective at preventing infection
  • 98 percent effective at preventing symptoms
  • 98.9 percent effective at preventing hospitalisations
  • 99.2 percent effective at stopping serious disease
  • 98.9 percent effective at preventing death

Read More: Italy just revealed AstraZeneca contract with EU, causing more chaos

Retweeting the results today Piers Morgan wrote: “Stunning results from Israel health chiefs on the Pfizer jab. This is incredibly encouraging.”

The data comes from approximately 1.7 million Israelis who had been given the Pfizer vaccine by January 30, 2021.

The groundbreaking data was shared by Arieh Kovler on Twitter, however, he issued a caveat alongside the results.

People looking at the data should bear in mind Israeli Health Ministry sources have said “these results ‘taken with an asterisk’ and are likely to change as data comes in.

“One particular question raised was whether ethnic and socioeconomic factors were included in building the control group.”

So these results could change in the coming days dependent on further data gathering.

However, further research from Israel undertaken by the Sheba Medical Centre was published in The Lancet medical journal and showed after just one dose Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine is up to 85 percent effective.

This data has been peer-reviewed, and the rapid speed of vaccinations in Israel is helping scientists understand how the virus spreads once the vaccine is widespread.

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The hospital examined the effectiveness of the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on 7,000 of its healthcare employees.

Employees were given the first jab in January, with the research team finding 15 to 28 days after the dose there was an 85 percent reduction of clinical (symptomatic) coronavirus.

The same study found all cases of coronavirus – including those asymptomatic (without symptoms – were down by 75 percent after one dose of the Pfizer jab.

Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease expert and director of Sheba’s Institute for Travel and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News: “This is first real-world evidence of effectiveness that shows up after the first dose of the vaccine.

“We had some hints from the clinical trials and some calculations that were made based on the clinical trial [but] this shows early effectiveness, even before the second dose was administered.”

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

Currently, in Israel, there have been more than 6.7 million administered vaccine doses.

Approximately 47 percent of Israel’s population has been given at least one vaccine dose, with more than 31 percent now fully vaccinated.

In total, almost 90 percent of Israelis over the age of 70 years have been given two vaccine doses.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects 95 percent of people over the age of 50 to be given the vaccine in the next two weeks.

The country has now reopened masses of its economy including malls and leisure facilities, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by COVID-19 vaccines administered to almost half the population.

Shops were open to all, however gyms, hotels and theatres was limited to people with a “Green Pass”.

The Green Passes are given to people who have had both doses of the vaccine more than a week before or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity.

Pass-holders could prove their status by presenting a vaccination certificate or downloading a Health Ministry app linked to their medical files.

Coming exactly a year after Israel’s first documented coronavirus case, Sunday’s easing of curbs was part of a government plan to open the economy more widely next month when Mr Netanyahu is up for reelection.

Mr Netanyahu tweeted: “We are the first country in the world that is reviving itself thanks to the millions of vaccines we brought in.

“Vaccinated? Get the Green Pass and get back to life.”

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