The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 93% effective in protecting against COVID-19, a leading Israeli healthcare provider announced Thursday.
The results seem to show the picture working as hoped over a large sample of people, raising hopes that vaccine distribution around the world will succeed.
Maccabi Healthcare Services said it had vaccinated some 520,000 people with the two required doses of the Pfizer image.
It found that only 544 people contracted coronavirus seven days or more after receiving the second dose.
Fifteen people were hospitalized and four were seriously ill, but no one died, Maccabi said, according to the Israeli Times.
Maccabi said he reached his 93% figure by comparing the vaccine group and a large control group of unvaccinated people.
The age range of those vaccinated was unclear from the Times of Israel report. Clearly if the sample did not include as many older people – who are more vulnerable to real COVID-19 – the detection would not be so important.
“These data vaguely confirm that the vaccine is very effective and we have no doubt that it has saved the lives of many Israelis,” said Maccabi chief executive Dr. Miri said. Mizrahi Reuveni, according to a Times of Israel report.
More than 700,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Israel and more than 5,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The Pfizer vaccine was found to be 95% effective in protecting against symptomatic coronavirus in clinical trials. Israel is by far the best example of its performance in the real world, since the vaccination campaign began early and has reached over a quarter of its population.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that the whole country will be fully vaccinated by March.
Israel received eight million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and six million advance Moderna contracts, considering paying twice as much as European countries to ensure reliable supply.
More than 2.3 million Israelis have been vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University – about 27% of its population of 9 million people, a figure higher than anywhere else in the world.
Pfizer monitors Israel’s coverage on a weekly basis to use insights around the world, including whether it is working against more infectious changes, Reuters reported.
So far it has been shown to work against the variability originally identified in the UK, but it is less clear for the variant found in South Africa.
“We have so far identified the same 90% to 95% effectiveness against British snoring,” Hezi Levi, chief executive of the Israeli Ministry of Health, told Reuters. “It is too early to say anything about the diversity of South Africa.”