Pfizer’s Strike Still Strong Against Covid. Israel Data Upgrade Prospect

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As Israel struggles with a rise in new coronavirus cases, the health ministry said on Thursday that although the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is high against serious diseases, its protection against coronavirus infection has decreased significantly compared to this winter and early spring.

Analyzing government national health statistics, researchers concluded that Pfizer’s vaccines gave vaccinated people 90 percent less risk of serious illness, while only 39 percent less risk of infection in late June and early July, compared with January to early April. It was 95. .

Israeli scientists cautioned that the new study is much smaller than in May and measures cases over a narrower timeframe. As a result, a much wider range of uncertainty surrounds its estimates, which can also be skewed by a variety of other factors.

However, the new estimates raise concern in Israel and elsewhere, including in the United States. Possible reasons for the apparent loss of efficacy against infection include the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant or decreased protection from vaccines over time.

Head of Israel’s Covid-19 National Expert Advisory Panel, Dr. Ran Balicer said the challenges in making accurate estimates of vaccine efficacy are “huge”. He said more careful analysis of the raw data is needed to understand what’s going on.

Israel launches aggressive campaign with Pfizer vaccine It’s on December 20, and 58 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Cases have increased 165 percent in the past two weeks, but hospitalizations, a measure of serious illness, continue to fall. According to Our World in Data, a project at Oxford University.

Vaccines, combined with tight government restrictions on travel and gatherings, have helped reduce the country’s daily caseload from more than 8,600 cases per day in January to just a few dozen.

Israel began to relax its restrictions in the spring. Cases increased again with the spread of the Delta variant in late June. Now, more than 1,000 people test positive every day, including those who are fully vaccinated. Epidemiologists expected such breakthrough infections, as with all vaccines.

Adding to the uncertainty of the new findings, it appears that the increase is not evenly spread across the country. While some travelers infected with the highly contagious Delta variant have brought it back to neighborhoods where vaccination rates are relatively high, new outbreaks have yet to suffocate the Orthodox Jewish and Arab Israeli communities where vaccination rates are lower. This imbalance can make the vaccine appear less effective.

In addition, the number of vaccinated people at the beginning of the campaign was over 60; those who received them later were younger. Infections among those vaccinated early may be more related to their age or other factors that researchers have not yet taken into account.

However, if the vaccine’s protection against infection really wanes after six months, the consequences could be huge, including negotiations over whether to give humans a third shot.

Dr. Balicer said he and his colleagues at Clalit Health Services, where he is chief of innovation, are working on their own study of the vaccine’s efficacy, using Clalit’s health records to account for such confounding factors.

Dr. “I definitely think there’s been a reduction, but not as much as might be assumed based on the raw data,” Balicer said, noting that other factors may also be at work. “Now we’re trying to figure it out cleanly.”

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