More Good News About Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine

Around 100 million people have received a Covid-19 vaccine in “real world” settings. There are still many unknowns, and watching the knowledge unfold is fascinating. Luckily, so far, it also looks promising.

There aren’t many places better to seek vaccine-related data in than Israel. A country of fewer than 10 million citizens that already vaccinated more than a third of its population. Israel is way ahead of the curve in vaccine rates. Being a “tech-friendly” nation, it’s also keeping score; a detailed breakdown of all Covid-19 related statistics is constantly updated on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Two and a half weeks later, more than 1.7 million Israelis have already received their second vaccine dose. Initial data has started emerging on the effects of being fully vaccinated — that is, at least a week after receiving the second dose. Here’s some of that data from the Israeli Ministry of Health:

Over 60-year-olds:

Data was collected from 668,100 people who were fully vaccinated.

  • Among them, 473 were diagnosed positive to Covid-19 (0.07%).
  • Among those positive, 38 were hospitalized.
  • 11 were in serious condition.
  • Three were in critical condition.
  • Two died.

When comparing those 60 and over who are fully vaccinated with those 60 and over but not fully vaccinated — that is, received one dose/no dose at all — an 83% decrease in diagnosed cases was observed.

The cases, hospitalization, serious illness, and death rates for those fully vaccinated were all significantly lower than those of people not fully vaccinated within the same age group.

Under 60-year-olds

Data was collected from 325,301 under-60-year-olds who were fully vaccinated.

  • Among them, 231 were diagnosed positive to Covid-19 (0.071%).
  • One was in serious condition.
  • Two were in critical condition.
  • Zero deaths.

A not fully vaccinated group of under-60-year-olds showed a 0.57% positive cases rate.

“This data is very encouraging,” Dr. Galit Kaufman from Maccabi Health Services told Israeli Channel 12 news. Kaufman told of an additional study, done by Maccani Health Services, that showed similarly promising results.

In this study, data from 250,000 people who were fully vaccinated was analyzed. Only 66 people were confirmed Covid-19-positive between seven to 18 days after receiving the second vaccine dose. Most were over 55 years old, half with underlying conditions. Most of those who tested positive had a very mild illness.

The positive effects of the vaccine can be seen using another method too. In an analysis done by researchers from the Weizmann Institute and the Tel Aviv University, two types of cities were compared: Early vaccinated cities (at least 85% of ages 60 and over vaccinated by January 10) and late vaccinated (not reached 70% of 60 and over vaccinated by January 10).

The data shows a drop in cases and hospitalization rates in those 60 and older who live in early vaccinated cities when compared to the same age group from late vaccinated cities.

Similar trends were found when comparing those over 60 early vaccinated to a younger age group of 40–60 year-olds (who were less vaccinated at the time).

What does that tell us?

It’s important to take note that these are initial numbers and that more research is still required. Second, these numbers might change as there’s a chance more fully vaccinated people could potentially get infected as time progresses. It’s also important to remember that Israel is currently in its third lockdown, this could also have a certain effect on the data.

And yet, it’s encouraging that this data suggests a fully vaccinated person is significantly less likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19. Whether it’s due to them not being infected or simply having an asymptomatic illness and thus not getting tested is still unclear.

It’s also encouraging that once a fully vaccinated person does get infected — and although it’s unfortunate that is possible — the chances for a serious illness or death appear very slim.

There are still many unanswered questions, but the emerging answers are hopeful. The vaccines seem to be working on a large scale, and they seem to be useful in fighting off the pandemic. It’s still early to make bold claims, but hey, at this point, I’ll take any fraction of good news coming my way.




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