The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine cuts the risk of COVID-19 infection by about 50 percent 14 days after the first of two doses is administered, according to a report citing preliminary data from Israel’s inoculation program.
Top Health Ministry official Sharon Alroy-Preis told Channel 12 News that the data was based on results of hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests among both those who’ve received the jab and those who haven’t, the Times of Israel reported.
Israel — where daily infections and total cases have reached all-time highs — is leading the world in terms of vaccinations and has administered about 2 million doses, nearly a fifth of its population, according to the outlet.
By the end of March, 5.2 million citizens are expected to have been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, somewhat different data was released by the country’s health maintenance organizations.
Channel 13 News reported Tuesday that according to figures released by Clalit, Israel’s largest health provider, the chance of someone being infected dropped by 33 percent 14 days after they got the shot.
Other figures recorded by the Maccabi health provider showed the vaccine caused a 60 percent drop in the chances for infection under similar conditions, the Times of Israel reported.
The HMOs compiled the data from the roughly 800,000 patients they treated in total.
The reason for the discrepancy between the studies was not immediately clear, the news outlet noted.
Regardless, the shot is only expected to reach full protection potential a week after the second dose, which began in Israel this week, is administered.
The second dose is expected to bring immunity levels to about 95 percent after about a week, the outlet reported.
Alroy-Preis stressed that the data wasn’t enough to conclude that the vaccine completely prevents transmission of the deadly bug, since it is believed that one can spread it for some time if it is located in their nasal cavity.
She also expressed alarm at the surging infection rate, which has climbed to nearly 10,000 new daily cases in the country.
“We have never had such a figure,” she said, adding that the more infectious UK strain of the virus has played a part in the steep rise in serious cases.
Alroy-Preis said 73 percent of Israelis above the age of 60 or who have other high risk factors have already received at least one shot.
The latest figures show that 9,665 new cases had been confirmed Monday, an all-time record — but the rate of positive tests, 7.6 percent, was about half of the record reached in September, according to the report.