Israel vaccinates four million citizens with first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

By February 19 2021, 11:54 Latest News No Comments

Israel has surpassed a key milestone of vaccinating four million citizens with the first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, close to 45% of its population. With 2.6 million Israelis fully vaccinated, Israeli healthcare providers Clalit and Maccabi have released data on infection rates and vaccine effectiveness corroborating Pfizer’s initial statistics.

Israel’s largest healthcare provider Clalit, which covers more than half of Israeli citizens, reported a 94% drop in symptomatic Covid-19 infections among the 600,000 sample group who had received both doses of the vaccine. The country’s largest study so far also concluded that the same group was 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the virus.

Healthcare provider Maccabi ran a similar study alongside Clalit, with 602,000 fully vaccinated citizens. The study discovered that just 608 patients were infected, equivalent to 1 in 1000, with just 21 people requiring hospitalisation – 11 with mild symptoms, 3 with moderate symptoms and 7 with severe symptoms.

Maccabi’s lead doctors concluded their study with a vaccination effectiveness figure of 95% believing that the success of the vaccine did not only reduce the number of virus carriers, but additionally reduced the severity of the illness in patients who fell ill.

Pfizer was able to achieve 95% efficiency in clinical trials, and both Maccabi and Clalit’s recent studies indicate that this can be replicated in the real word.

Ran Balicer, Clalit’s Chief Innovation Officer, said: “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”. He added that the data indicates the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, is even more effective two weeks or more after the second shot.

Maccabi Statistics Analyst, Anat Ekka Zohar, suggested that the rise in recent effectiveness from 94% to 95% is due to the younger population having access to the vaccination and responding very well to it. Maccabi Data indicates that young people act as a key performance indicator for the vaccine as they have a relatively large amount of social contact. “We clearly see very low morbidity rates among the group of young people who were vaccinated as early as seven days after the first dose of the vaccine”, she said.

The Weizmann Institute of Science, who have been tabulating national data, suggested that there has been a dramatic decline in hospitalisation and serious illness in patients aged 60+ as 90% of the sector have received both vaccinations. Comparatively, in the under 35’s who only gained access to the vaccine two weeks ago, hospitalisation rates are increasing.

All Israelis aged sixteen and over are now eligible and encouraged to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

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