Israeli study reports a significant drop in Covid-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine

Israel's largest healthcare provider reported a 94 per cent drop in symptomatic coronavirus cases

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, a man receives his second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from a Magen David Adom national emergency service volunteer, at a private nursing home, in Ramat Gan, Israel, during a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. More than a month into its coronavirus vaccination drive, as inoculation rates are flagging, Israel is employing carrots and sticks to combat misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage its citizens to go get immunized. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

Israel's largest healthcare provider reported a 94 per cent drop in symptomatic Covid-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer's vaccine in the country's biggest study to date.

Clalit, the health maintenance organisation, which covers more than half of Israelis, said the same group was also 92 per cent less likely to develop severe illness from 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 a week after the second dose, just as it was found to be in the clinical study," Ran Balicer, Clalit's chief innovation officer, said on Sunday.

He said the data indicates the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Germany's BioNTech, was even more effective two weeks or more after the second shot.

The National reported on Saturday that researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, who have been tabulating national data, said a sharp decline in hospital admissions and serious illness identified earlier among the first age group to be vaccinated – aged 60 or older – was seen for the first time in those aged 55 and older.

Hospital admissions and serious illness were still rising in younger groups who began vaccinations weeks later.

Israel has been conducting a rapid vaccination drive and its database offers insights into vaccine effectiveness and at what point countries might attain herd immunity.

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