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UPDATED 2/21, 11:55 a.m. ET: A study carried out by the Israeli Health Ministry and Pfizer found that the pharmaceutical corporation’s vaccine curbs transmission of the disease by 89.4 percent in asymptomatic cases and 93.7 percent in symptomatic ones.
According to Bloomberg, this is early evidence that immunization will reduce the spread of COVID-19. It’s also the first indication that the vaccine can stop transmission from asymptomatic carriers, which hadn’t been known before. Preventing transmission is vital in order for countries to relax restrictions and re-open economies.
Around half the population of Israel has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
See original story below.
According to a report from CBS News on Friday, a survey from Israel—the associated study of which was published in the Lancet medical journal—found the first dose of the vaccination to be 85 percent effective against infection between two and four weeks after inoculation. Researchers embarked on the study in question by enlisting thousands of healthcare workers at the country’s largest hospital.
Meanwhile, studies in Israel have found the Pfizer vaccine to be 95 percent effective just one week after the second dose.
Also on Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their submission of new data to the FDA showing the stability of their vaccine when stored at temperatures more commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators. The data, per the companies, has been submitted as part of a proposed update to the Emergency Use Authorization that would allow for the vials to be kept at -25°C to -15°C (-13°F to 5°F) for two weeks as either an alternative or complement to ultra-low freezer storage.
“We have been continuously performing stability studies to support the production of the vaccine at commercial scale, with the goal of making the vaccine as accessible as possible for healthcare providers and people across the U.S. and around the world,” Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Pfizer, said in a press release on Friday. “We appreciate our ongoing collaboration with the FDA and CDC as we work to ensure our vaccine can be shipped and stored under increasingly flexible conditions. If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility in how they manage their vaccine supply.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Pfizer and BioNTech would be supplying the U.S. with 100 million additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. At the same time, President Joe Biden—when delivering remarks to the National Institutes of Health staff—said the U.S. was on track to have 600 million total vaccine doses by the end of July.
“While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor—I’ll be very blunt about it—did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans,” Biden said.