- Pfizer’s vaccine is working to fight COVID-19, a leading Israeli provider firm said.
- Maccabi Healthcare Services said that nobody died of 520,000 people who got two doses of the shot.
- Israel has fully immunized 27% of its population, more than any other country.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was 93% effective at protecting against COVID-19, a leading Israeli healthcare provider announced Thursday.
The results appear to show the shot working as hoped across a massive sample of people, raising hopes that vaccine rollouts around the world will succeed.
Maccabi Healthcare Services said that it had immunized some 520,000 people with both required doses of Pfizer’s shot.
It found that only 544 people had subsequently caught coronavirus seven or more days after getting their second dose.
Fifteen people were hospitalized and four people had severe illness, but no-one died, Maccabi said, according to the Times of Israel.
Maccabi said it reached its 93% figure by comparing the vaccinated group to a large control group of unvaccinated people.
The age-range of those immunized was not clear from the Times of Israel report. Clearly if there were not so many older people â€” who are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 â€” in the sample, the finding is less significant.
“This data unequivocally proves that the vaccine is very effective and we have no doubt that it has saved the lives of many Israelis,” senior Maccabi official Dr. Miri Mizrahi Reuveni said, per the Times of Israel report.
More than 700,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Israel and more than 5,000 deaths have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Pfizer’s vaccine was found to be 95% effective at protecting against symptomatic coronavirus in clinical trials. Israel is the best example so far of its performance in the real world, since its vaccination drive began early and has already reached more than a quarter of its population.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has promised that the entire country will be fully immunized by March.
Israel secured eight million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and six million of Moderna’s in advance deals, reportedly paying double the rate of European countries to ensure a reliable supply.
Pfizer is monitoring the Israeli rollout on a weekly basis for insights to use around the world, including for whether it works against more infectious variants, Reuters reported.
So far it has shown to work against the variant first identified in the UK, but it is less clear for the variant found in South Africa.
“We’ve so far identified the same 90% to 95% efficacy against the British strain,” Hezi Levi, director-general of the Israeli Health Ministry told Reuters. “It’s too early to say anything about the South African variant.”