New vaccine data from Israel suggests that the double-dose of Pfizer is performing at the expected rate of 95% efficiency – with the possibility that it is performing even better than that being further investigated
Israel has currently inoculated 40% of its population. It is the country at the forefront of the world in vaccinations, followed distantly by the US at 6%.
That also makes it the country that will prove or disprove clinical trial data – if the vaccine works on mutations or not (Moderna does), whether the older population experience a strong level of protection and how fast rates of infection go down when a population is vaccinated.
Early on, Pfizer and Israel agreed a deal for continuous drug supply. This holds as long as data is transparently shared about how the vaccines are working.
According to the Bloomberg COVID resilience rankings, existing vaccine contracts cover 138% of the Israeli population. This means more than enough vaccines will be available, which is similar to other countries in the Northern Hemisphere – like the UK, at 302% and France at 183%.
Currently, the TRIPS agreement is still in effect – making it difficult for countries like South Africa to purchase even a 50% amount of any vaccine.
Real-world Pfizer efficiency could be 99.9%
As Israel continues to see a massive population uptake, new data is teaching expectant countries about the real life impact of vaccination.
The Israeli health provider, Maccabi, showed that only 20 out of 128,600 who received both doses have then been infected. This is a theoretical 99.9% of people experiencing full protection from COVID-19 after receiving full Pfizer vaccination, if all 128,600 came into contact with COVID.
In a statement, Maccabi said: “According to Maccabi’s experts this is preliminary data but the numbers are very encouraging.
“Maccabi reports that out of the 20 people infected, 50% suffer from chronic illnesses. All patients experienced a mild illness with symptoms including headaches, cough, weakness or fatigue. No-one was hospitalized or suffered from a fever above 38.5C. Most patients tested for COVID-19 due to exposure to a verified patient.”
What does this mean for other vaccines?
If these results hold up in further findings, it could be that Pfizer’s efficiency prediction of 95% has been raised a few points by how the drug dealt with COVID in the real-world.
If Pfizer is this much tougher outside of clinical trials, this could have lasting implications for all drugmakers with a vaccine. Could another vaccine experience a significantly boosted efficiency?
Anat Ekka Zohar, Maccabi’s Information and Digital Health Division director, said: “The fact that the infected patients came from different profiles is consistent with Pfizer’s trial results.
“We will monitor these patients closely in order to examine if they continue to suffer from mild symptoms only and do not develop complications as a result of the virus.”