Health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit, the largest healthcare provider in Israel, has reported a drop of 94 percent of symptomatic COVID-19 infections from a group of 600,000 people who have gotten both of the necessary doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Reuters.
HMO Clalit covers more than half of Israel’s population, and also reported that the same 600,000 people were 92 percent less likely to come down with a serious illness as a result of contracting the virus if they had taken the vaccine.
This study, the biggest one to date in the country, represents a continuation of promising news for the Pfizer inoculation(s), as just last month (along with Moderna) Pfizer got credit for a similar effectiveness rate of 95 percent in a New York Times report.
If you’re wondering what the measuring stick Clalit was comparing against to come up with those percentages was, Reuters reports that the group of 600,000 was set side-by-side with a similarly-sized amount of people that had matching medical histories. Also, as you can probably guess, that second group was not given the vaccine.
“It shows unequivocally that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is extremely effective in the real world a week after the second dose, just as it was found to be in the clinical study,” said Clalit’s chief innovation officer, Ran Balicer.
Balicer also noted indications by the data that the Pfizer vaccine was more effective if the second shot was given/taken two or more weeks after the first.
Sunday also saw good news in the form of researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science saying that a sharp decline of hospitalizations and serious COVID illnesses had been observed in the country for the first time for people aged 55 and older. Those researchers have been assessing national data, and note that the same trend was previously seen in the first group of people that were vaccinated (specifically, people who are 60 or older.)
The same cannot be said for younger (thus far unvaccinated) groups, as their hospitalizations and serious illness rates continue to rise in the country.