Israel says Pfizer vaccine protection takes a hit as Delta variant spreads – .

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Israel says Pfizer vaccine protection takes a hit as Delta variant spreads – .


The Israeli government says its analysis has shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine appears to be less effective against infections caused by the Delta variant compared to other strains of COVID-19.

In a brief statement released on Monday, the government said as of June 6, the vaccine offered 64% protection against infection. In May, when the Alpha variant dominated in Israel and the Delta strain had not yet spread widely, she found that the vaccine was 95.3% effective against all infections.

The government added that the vaccine was now 93% effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations, up from 97% reported in the medical journal The Lancet in May.

The statement cited the highest numbers, but did not release underlying data or other details of its analysis. A team from Hebrew University said in a separate statement that it was too early to say how the Delta variant was affecting the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, was also cautious in drawing conclusions. “The best data still suggest that mRNA vaccines offer a high degree of protection against infection and excellent protection against serious disease. Let’s wait for more data, but from now on… If you’re vaccinated, I wouldn’t worry ” he tweeted.

In another statement on Tuesday, Israel’s health ministry released data on illnesses caused by COVID-19 and offered a detailed explanation of the vaccine’s protection. Despite an apparent decline in the vaccine’s ability to prevent all infections during the spread of the Delta variant, the statement underscored its continued benefit in preventing severe cases.

Israel has rolled out the Pfizer vaccine to everyone over the age of 12, and its early and rapid deployment gave scientists one of the first real snapshots of its effectiveness.

The government said the drop in efficiency is likely due to the spread of the Delta variant in Israel. This more infectious strain of the virus was first identified in India earlier this year and is also known as B.1.617.2.

Pfizer said it couldn’t comment on unpublished data, but a recently published lab study it conducted with the University of Texas medical branch found its vaccine to be effective against lab versions of the Delta strain and others. The study found that full vaccination triggers an immune response that should protect people well against infection with the newer variants.

Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with over 60% of the population fully vaccinated and two-thirds having received at least one dose.

The statement highlights a great risk for the future: the emergence of new variants that could escape some of the protection provided by vaccines.

Public health officials point out that current injections offer good protection against the Delta variant.

A study from Public Health England this month found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were each highly effective – at 96% and 92% respectively – against hospitalizations of the Delta variant after two doses.

Separately, preliminary results from a Scottish study published in The Lancet last month found that the Pfizer vaccine offered 79% protection against all infections of the Delta variant, compared to 92% against the Alpha variant. The same study, which analyzed data from 5.4 million people in Scotland, found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine offered 60% protection against infection with the Delta variant compared to 73% for the Alpha variant.

Moderna’s vaccine has been found in lab experiments to work against newer variants such as the Delta strain, the company said.

Johnson & Johnson said lab tests of its single-injection coronavirus vaccine suggest it offers protection against the Delta variant.

However, this can change if the virus mutates more. That’s why doctors and public health officials want more people to get vaccinated. “The more we allow the virus to spread, the more opportunity the virus has to change,” advised the World Health Organization (WHO) last month.

Israel lifted most of its coronavirus restrictions in early June. However, the government then reinstated an indoor mask mandate after a spike in cases caused by the Delta variant. He also appointed a “special director” to prevent entry of the coronavirus and its variants into Israel and approved a plan to build a permanent testing center at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The country has reported a slight increase in daily cases in recent weeks, but only a handful of people have died from the disease in Israel in the past month.

Meanwhile, England, where the Delta variant has become the dominant strain, are continuing their plan to remove most of their remaining restrictions in just two weeks – despite strong warnings from many scientists.

Speaking at a government press briefing on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the effectiveness of the death vaccine allows the government to unblock further, even as the number of cases is rising rapidly. He said the government had to balance the risk of the virus against the impact of restrictions on people and added that the country “must find a new way to live with the virus.”

“I want to stress up front that this pandemic is far from over… we are seeing cases increasing quite rapidly. There could be 50,000 cases detected per day by the 19th [of June] and again, as we predicted, we are seeing an increase in hospital admissions, and unfortunately we have to come to terms with more deaths from COVID, ”Johnson added.

WHO has cautioned against this approach. “Many countries seem to be completely abandoning the idea that we have some control over this virus,” Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director for Health Emergencies, said in a live question-and-answer session. Monday. He warned against any “premature rush” to reopen at a time when cases are mounting.

“We seem to be very caught up in the headlines that there is nothing we can do, it’s inevitable that we’re going to see these waves and it’s inevitable that hospitals fill up and cemeteries inevitably fill up,” did he declare. mentionned. “It’s not inevitable, it can be stopped, but it will still take extra effort from exhausted communities. ”

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