After administering hundreds of thousands of vaccines, and leading the world in per capita inoculation, Israel has managed to gather a considerable amount of data that points towards the fact that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine curbs infections by some 50 percent 14 days after the first of two shots is administered.
According to Israeli Health Ministry official Sharon Alroy-Preis, the data collected was preliminary and based on the results of coronavirus tests among both those who’ve received the vaccine and those who haven’t. Alroy-Preis stressed that the data wasn’t enough to conclude that the vaccine prevents transmission of the virus altogether since it is believed that one can spread the virus to others for a limited amount of time if it is located in their nasal cavity, even if it hasn’t infected the body to a level that would yield a positive test result. “Seventeen percent of the new serious cases today, or 180 cases, are after the first dose,” she told reporters.
On the other hand, contrary data was released by Israeli health maintenance organizations on Tuesday evening. According to figures released by Clalit, Israel’s largest health provider, the chance of a person being infected with the coronavirus dropped by 33% 14 days after they were vaccinated. Separate figures recorded by the Maccabi health provider showed the vaccine caused a 60% drop in the chances for infection 14 days after taking the first shot. Each of the HMOs compiled the data from some 400,000 patients they treated (800,000 in total).
All of these studies considered, it is a known fact that the full efficacy of the vaccine can only reach when the second dose is taken. The second dose is expected to bring immunity levels to some 95% after about a week.
Speaking of the continuing rise in infections in the country, Alroy-Preis also expressed alarm saying, “We have never had such a figure,” adding that the more infectious British strain of the virus is believed to have spread throughout the country. She said Israel will likely have to extend its nationwide lockdown, but added that there were initial signs that the rise in infection rates was starting to slow down.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday held a ceremonial event celebrating the 2,000,000th vaccinee. Updated figures published Tuesday evening by the Health Ministry said 9,665 new cases had been confirmed Monday, an all-time record. The death toll surged to 3,756 and the Health Ministry hopes to have vaccinated 5.2 million citizens against the coronavirus by the end of March.