Israel Says Pfizer / BioNtech Coronavirus Vaccine Shows 92% Effectiveness


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Source: VOA

By Linda Gradstein

JERUSALEM – In the first large-scale, controlled data outside clinical trials, the two-dose Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is showing 92 percent effectiveness, according to Israeli health officials. It’s good news for Pfizer, which says the vaccine also appears to work against the British mutation of COVID-19. 

The Maccabi Health Fund studied 163,000 Israelis who had received two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Only 31 of them caught COVID-19 after they were fully vaccinated. In an equivalent sample of unvaccinated Israelis, almost 6,500 developed the disease.

The study shows the Pfizer vaccine had 92 percent effectiveness, which was close to the 95 percent Pfizer saw in clinical trials. Israeli infectious-disease experts said the study is good news and that the slight difference between the clinical trials and this current study is within the standard deviation.

Israel has become a real-time laboratory for the Pfizer vaccine, which is being widely distributed in the country through the public health funds. Israel bought the vaccine early, paying double the market price, according to media reports, and agreed to share all of its data with Pfizer. All Israelis belong to one of four health funds and all medical records are digitized.

So far, almost 3 million Israelis out of a total population of 9.3 million have received the first dose of the vaccine, and almost 1.5 million have received the second dose.

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Categories: Vaccine

6 replies

  1. BioNTech BNTX, -0.72% 22UA, 1.83% is now in line to deliver up to 75 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union in the second quarter than originally planned, after the modification of production sites in Belgium and Germany.

    German-based BioNTech said it would increase production of the shot it has developed with U.S. drug manufacturer Pfizer PFE, -0.28%, with a new facility set to open in the central German city of Marburg in February, which, it said, will have the capacity to produce 750 million vaccine doses a year.

    “In order to respond to an increased global demand, we plan to manufacture 2 billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 by expanding the previously expected output of 1.3 billion doses by more than 50%. We are on track to scale up our manufacturing capacities,” BioNTech said in a statement released Monday.

  2. Pfizer plans to deliver 200 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. by May, earlier than its initial forecast of July, according to slides published Tuesday by the drugmaker ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings call.

    The company, which developed its vaccine with German drugmaker BioNTech, also said it can potentially deliver 2 billion doses globally by the end of this year now that health-care providers can extract an additional sixth dose of the vaccine from the vials. In December, the Food and Drug Administration said extra doses from vials can be used after doses were being thrown away due to labeling confusion.

    Pfizer had delivered 29 million doses of its two-shot vaccine to the U.S. government as of Jan. 31, according to the company. As of Monday, 17 million of those Pfizer doses have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. Pfizer expects to nearly cut in half the amount of time it takes to produce a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average of 60 as it makes the process more efficient and production is built out, the company told USA TODAY.

    As the nation revs up its vaccination programs, the increase could help relieve bottlenecks caused by vaccine shortages.

    “We call this ‘Project Light Speed,’ and it’s called that for a reason,” said Chaz Calitri, Pfizer’s vice president for operations for sterile injectables, who runs the company’s plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Just in the last month we’ve doubled output.”

    The increased speed and capacity is not unexpected, said Robert Van Exan, president of Immunization Policy and Knowledge Translation, a vaccine production consulting firm.

  4. One day after receiving her first dose of Moderna’s Covid vaccine, Luz Legaspi, 72, woke up with bruises on her arms and legs, and blisters that bled inside her mouth.

    She was hospitalized in New York City that day, Jan. 19, with a severe case of immune thrombocytopenia — a lack of platelets, a blood component essential for clotting.

    The same condition led to the death in January of Dr. Gregory Michael, 56, an obstetrician in Miami Beach whose symptoms appeared three days after he received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Treatments failed to restore his platelets, and after two weeks in the hospital he died from a brain hemorrhage.

    It is not known whether this blood disorder is related to the Covid vaccines. More than 31 million people in the United States have received at least one dose, and 36 similar cases had been reported to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, by the end of January. The cases involved either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, the only two authorized so far for emergency use in the United States.

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