The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine appears to be bearing fruit in Israel, with an efficiency rate of 89.4% in preventing new infections, according to a study cited by Bloomberg.
The two companies worked closely with the Israeli Ministry of Health to conduct a preliminary analysis, which was not validated by another group of experts.
Israel has the highest immunization rate in the world, with about 79% of the country’s population vaccinated. In a separate study, Israeli authorities said on Saturday that the vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech is 99% effective in preventing deaths from COVID-19. However, the results must be reconfirmed by other scientists to prove their veracity.
“This is the data we need to estimate the potential of herd immunity,” said Raina MacIntyre, a biosafety professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“The study was not performed to accurately measure the reduction in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus because the data from the national test program were used without taking into account the differences between immunized individuals and citizens who have not yet received the vaccine,” he said. Zoe McLaren, a professor at the University of Maryland in the United States, added that herd immunization could be achieved with lower vaccine efficiency.
About 80% of infections reported during the study, conducted between January 17 and February 6, were caused by the strain identified in the UK, called B.1.1.7.
Israel’s national immunization program officially began on December 20.
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