Pfizer and BioNTechSE said on Thursday that real data from Israel shows that their COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infections, which means it can greatly reduce transmission.
The two companies also stated that the latest analysis of Israeli data shows that the vaccine is 97% effective in preventing symptomatic diseases, serious illnesses and deaths. This is basically in line with the 95% efficacy reported by Pfizer and BioNTech in a late-stage clinical trial of the vaccine in December.
Reuters reported that the Israeli Ministry of Health has been sending data to Pfizer and is working with medical providers that provide vaccines, but did not respond to requests for comment. The analysis also showed real evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness against the highly infectious COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 first discovered in the UK. During the analysis, more than 80% of the test samples were B.1.1.7.
In Israel, only a limited number of infections are caused by the so-called South African variant (B.1.351), so they cannot assess the effectiveness of this variant. In terms of population coverage, Israel is the world leader in vaccination program, thanks in part to data sharing agreements with Pfizer and BioNTech.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, as of Wednesday, approximately 55% of Israel’s 9 million population had received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, while 43% had received both vaccines.
According to Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science data scientist Eran Segal, since the peak in mid-January, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Israel has decreased by 71%, the number of cases has decreased by 55%, the number of newly severely ill patients has decreased by 45%, and the severely ill patients have decreased by 40%.