Of the 128,000 Israelis who have now received the second dose of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, only 20 became infected by COVID-19 after one week (0.015%) – compared with the average infection rate in Israel of 0.65% per week (equivalent to 860 people for the same population size). Although not a clinically-controlled trial, this data is still suggestive of a greater than 95% effectiveness for the vaccine – in line with the results from the original clinical trial for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Also, none of the 20 vaccinees who were infected were hospitalized or suffered from a fever higher than 38.5°C (101.3°F).
“These are very good results, and if it continues this way it could even be that the vaccine is more effective than Pfizer thought it would be based on clinical trials,” Anat Ekka Zohar, the Maccabi analyst behind the research, told The Times of Israel.
Isreal has had a very rapid and widespread vaccination program in an effort to address this pandemic for its people – much faster and much more widespread and generally accepted than here in the States. So, it is likely that the initial effects of this program would be seen about now. As of January 19, 2021, 25.6% of the Israeli population have received their first vaccine dose, compared with 3.7% in the United States. Nearly all 2 million Israelis who have been vaccinated have received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.
So far, Israel has given at least one dose of the vaccine to more than 76% of the country’s inhabitants who work as teachers, or are over the age of 60 years, or have health risks. Now, that’s significant by any measure. And, this appears, so far, to have resulted in a 60% drop in hospitalizations for those older than 60 years of age within three weeks of having just one of the two Pfizer vaccine shots – with double the hospitalizations for those who haven’t yet been vaccinated as compared to those who have (Nathan Jeffay, The Times of Israel, Jan. 24, 2021).