Based on Israel data, Pfizer says vaccine drastically cuts asymptomatic spread

U.S. pharma firm says real-world data from country suggests 94% efficacy at stopping asymptomatic infections; also says two-dose inoculation is 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe disease and death

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday that real-world data from Israel suggests that their COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infections, meaning the vaccine could significantly reduce transmission.
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  • The companies also said the latest analysis of the Israeli data shows the vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe disease and death.
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    חיסון קורונה פייזר ירושלים
    חיסון קורונה פייזר ירושלים
    An Israeli woman receives the Pfizer vaccine in Jerusalem
    (Photo: AP)
    That is basically in line with the 95% efficacy Pfizer and BioNTech reported from the vaccine's late-stage clinical trial in December.
    According to the analysis, unvaccinated individuals were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who had received the vaccine.
    The data, collected between Jan. 17 and March 6, has not yet been peer reviewed.
    Of the nine million people in Israel, a nation with universal healthcare, more than five million have received a first dose, and four million have received both doses since the rollout began on Dec. 19.
    The new data is consistent with a study by the Clalit health fund last month that two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
    The study of about 1.2 million people also showed a single shot was 57% effective in protecting against symptomatic infections after two weeks, according to the data published and peer-reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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    מנכ"ל פייזר אלברט בורלא
    מנכ"ל פייזר אלברט בורלא
    Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The results of the study for the Clalit Research Institute were close to those in clinical trials last year which found two doses were found to be 95% effective.
    Furthermore, data published by the Health Ministry last week showed that that 1% of Israelis who had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus have contracted the pathogen.
    Out of 3,387,340 Israelis who at the time had received both vaccine doses, only 4,711 tested positive for the disease, with 907 or 0.02% exhibiting mostly very mild symptoms.
    Hospitals also confirmed that the data - which was collected one week after the people involved in the study had received their second shot - reflects the picture in their coronavirus wards.

    Adir Yanko contributed to this report
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