Two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine have been shown to be over 95% effective against infections, hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 in Israel, the country with the highest proportion of its population vaccinated in the world, research shows .
An injection of the vaccine was partially effective, offering 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospitalization and 77% against death. The authors of the observational study in the Lancet medical journal say it shows the importance of having the second shot.
Their study demonstrates the power of vaccines to end the coronavirus toll, they say. “These results suggest that high vaccine use can seriously stem the pandemic and offer hope for eventual control of the Sars-CoV-2 epidemic as vaccination programs multiply around the world.” They wrote.
Lead author Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israeli Ministry of Health, said: “So far no country in the world has described the public health impact of a national vaccination campaign. against Covid-19. This information is extremely important because, although there are still considerable challenges to overcome, it offers real hope that the Covid-19 vaccination will eventually allow us to control the pandemic.
But many other countries will not be able to emulate Israel, say the newspaper’s commentators.
“Unfortunately, rapid coverage at the population level cannot be easily replicated in many other countries. The overall use of [Pfizer/BioNTech] The vaccine is limited by supply issues, high costs and ultra-cold chain storage requirements, ”wrote Professor Eyal Leshem of Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel and Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith of London School. of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who were not involved in the study.
Israel only used the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which the company provided with the understanding that data from the vaccination program would be released to demonstrate its effectiveness in the real world.
The country experienced a nationwide lockdown from December 27, 2020 to March 7, 2021 due to a sharp rise in infections, which peaked in January. As of April 3, 72% of adults over 16 and 90% of over 65 had received two doses of the vaccine. As in the UK, the dominant strain of the virus was the ‘Kent’ variant, B117. A few cases of the “South African” variant, B1351, have been found recently, but too few to consider.