Israeli study finds that Pfizer vaccine is less effective on Delta variants
According to a preliminary study by the Israeli Ministry of Health, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is not as effective as previous coronavirus strains in preventing the spread of Delta variants.
The Ministry of Health found that data collected in the past month showed that the vaccine was 64% effective in preventing infection in fully vaccinated people. It is estimated to be 94% effective against previous strains.
However, the data originally reported on the Ynet news portal indicated that the vaccine is 93% effective against serious diseases and hospitalization.
Professor Nadav Davidovitch, a member of the Government’s Covid-19 Expert Advisory Committee, warned that the study is based on “preliminary” data related to the effectiveness of vaccines continuously collected by health authorities.
“Delta is much more infectious, but it doesn’t seem to cause such serious illness and death, especially considering that we now have a vaccine,” he said.
Since Israel lifted all remaining Covid-19 restrictions on June 1, cases have continued to increase, with many experts accusing the highly spreading variant of Delta.
As of Monday, the country had nearly 2,600 active cases-more than twice the number of the previous week-although the Ministry of Health stated that only 35 cases were considered serious.
Earlier this year, the British health authorities also recorded Decreased efficacy The Pfizer jab is less severe than the Delta variant. Public Health England found in May that the vaccine provided 88% protection against symptomatic Delta infections and 93% protection against Alpha variants first discovered in Kent. According to the study, two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (mainly used for mass vaccination in the UK) provided lower protection, with the Delta variant at 66%.
After lifting the blockade in the spring, Israel enjoyed one of the fastest vaccination events in the world. Of Israel’s 9 million citizens, more than 5 million have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer.
But the rising case rate shocked the Naftali Bennett government. The government re-implemented mask requirements for indoor gatherings and public transportation last month, and is considering more restrictive measures, including the reintroduction of the “green passport” program for people who have been vaccinated, restrictions on large public gatherings, and “intensified” injections.
Last week, young people including the prime minister’s daughter were promoted to vaccinate, and more than 100,000 people received the injection.
Israel’s response to the surge in delta infections is in stark contrast to that of the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lift all restrictions on July 19.
“If the numbers continue to grow and now double every week, we need to vaccinate the approximately 1 million people that are still left as soon as possible — 200,000 over 50 years old, and of course children,” said Professor David Dovich. “The government may also introduce a green pass program at Ben Gurion International Airport, make it mandatory to wear masks, conduct a large number of tests and impose stricter supervision on all incoming passengers.”
“I don’t believe it will be like Britain,” he added. “For those of us who have received more vaccines here, Pfizer seems to provide a better defense than (AstraZeneca). I don’t believe the government will allow the virus to wreak havoc. Our response must be proportional.”