Pfizer: COVID vaccine 97% effective, Israeli data shows

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Against asymptomatic cases, the vaccine is 94% effective.

An illustrative photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

An illustrative photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is about 97% effective against severe cases and 94% against asymptomatic infections, new data jointly released Thursday by the pharmaceutical company and the Health Ministry shows.

The study considered information collected in Israel between January 17 and March 6. Unvaccinated individuals were found to be 44 times more likely to develop a symptomatic case of COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to succumb to the virus when compared to individuals who had received their second dose two weeks prior.

The vaccine presented a 97% efficacy in preventing severe symptoms, hospitalization and death, and a 94% efficacy in preventing asymptomatic infections.

“Israel’s strong health system and an unprecedented societal mobilization and awareness allowed us to achieve high national uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in a short period of time,” Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Chezy Levy said in a release. “Incidence rates in the fully vaccinated population have massively dropped compared to the unvaccinated population, showing a marked decline in hospitalized cases due to COVID-19.

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“This clearly demonstrates the power of the COVID-19 vaccine to fight this virus and encourages us to continue even more intensively with our vaccination campaign,” he said. “We aim to achieve even higher uptake in people of all ages, which gives us hope of regaining normal economic and social function in the not so distant future.”

“We are extremely encouraged that the real-world effectiveness data coming from Israel are confirming the high efficacy demonstrated in our Phase 3 clinical trial and showing the significant impact of the vaccine in preventing severe disease and deaths due to COVID-19,” said Luis Jodar, Ph.D., Pfizer Vaccines’ senior vice president and chief medical officer.

“The findings which suggest that the vaccine may also provide protection against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections are particularly meaningful as we look to disrupt the spread of the virus around the globe,” he further commented.

“Altogether, these data are critical to understanding the role of vaccination in combating the pandemic and provide hope to other countries dealing with this devastating disease, which has now afflicted the world for more than a year,” he said.

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