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Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine offers 97% protection, Israel study finds

BREAKING NEWS: Pfizer vaccine gives 97% protection for COVID-19 and is 94% effective at preventing infections from people who are not showing symptoms, Israel study finds

  • Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine prevented 97% of symptomatic cases, hospitalizations and deaths
  • It was also 94% effective at blocking asymptomatic cases of infection 
  • The results were announced by the health ministry in Israel, which has led the world in pandemic vaccination

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine is effective at blocking the disease and vaccinated people showed ‘dramatically lower’ rates of infection, a new study finds.

Researchers from the companies, who teamed up with the Israeli Ministry of Health, said on Thursday that the COVID-19 was 97 perfect effective at preventing symptomatic cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

What’s more, the jab was 94 percent effective at preventing asymptomatic cases – which means the inoculation may be able to dramatically reduce transmission. 

Those who were unvaccinated were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die from the disease, researchers also found. 

The results are in line with the 95 percent efficacy Pfizer and BioNTech reported from their late-stage clinical trial in December that led to emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech are studying a third dose of their coronavirus vaccine, which is aimed at protecting against future variants. Pictured: A health worker shows a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-1) vaccine, in San Jose, Costa Rica, February 24

‘This clearly demonstrates the power of the Covid-19 vaccine to fight this virus,’ Yeheskel Levy, director of the health ministry, said in a statement. 

‘We aim to achieve even higher uptake in people of all ages, which gives us hope of regaining normal economic and social function in the not-so-distant future.’ 

The study was conducted from data collected between January 17 and March 6, 2021, when the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the only vaccine available in Israel.

Findings from the study have not yet been peer-reviewed but the researchers do plan to submit the data to a scientific journal. 

At the time, the UK coronavirus variant, known as B.1.1.7 , had also become the dominant strain in the Middle Eastern country, with more than 80 percent of specimen tested at the time linked to the variant. 

However, the analysis could not evaluated the vaccine’s effectiveness against the South African variant due the very few cases linked to the strain in Israel at the itme. 

Since vaccinations began rolling out in December 2020, Israel has led the world in mass immunizations. 

As of Thursday morning, around 55 percent of its population has received at least one dose and 43 percent have received both doses, Health Ministry data show.

Upon the news, shares of Pfizer rose 0.4 percent and BioNTech increased 2.7 percent in pre-market trading.

‘We are extremely encouraged that the real-world effectiveness data coming from Israel are confirming the high efficacy demonstrated in our Phase III clinical trial and showing the significant impact of the vaccine in preventing severe disease and deaths due to COVID-19,’ said Dr Luis Jodar, chief medical officer for Pfizer, in a statement.

”The findings which suggest that the vaccine may also provide protection against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections are particularly meaningful as we look to disrupt the spread of the virus around the globe.’

It comes on the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 to be a global pandemic.. 

In the U.S., the virus has led to more than 29 million confirmed infections and more than 520,000 deaths.  

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