Pfizer works in Israel: Only 0.1% of vaccinated catch virus, no deaths

Analysis shows fewer than 0.1% of recipients of the second dose of the vaccine got infected with the coronavirus.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A study by one of Israel’s health maintenance organizations shows that the Pfizer vaccine currently being administered in Israel is effective and is starting to have success in dramatically lowering the number of infections for those who have received both doses, Ynet reported Thursday.

Maccabi Healthcare Services reported that fewer than 0.1% of its members who received the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine had caught the virus, none of whom died, and the effectiveness of the vaccine in Israel now stands at 93%.

As of Wednesday, only 544 people were infected with the virus out of 523,000 Maccabi members who had passed more than a week since they received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“From a test conducted among those infected, the vast majority suffer from only mild symptoms or experience no symptoms at all,” Maccabi reported. “Out of 544 infected, only 15 patients needed hospitalization, of which four are defined as in severe condition, three in moderate condition and eight in mild condition.”

Maccabi noted that at the same time the HMO monitored a control group of about 628,000 Maccabi members who have not yet been vaccinated and were not previously infected with the virus, finding that there were 18,435 active coronavirus patients constituting 2.9% of the group.

Israel’s coronavirus vaccination campaign started with the population aged 60 and over. The Health Ministry reported Friday that to date 2.4 million of Israel’s 9.3 million citizens have received both doses.

Hospital officials said they are seeing a dramatic change.

“Once, we hardly saw young people in our wards,” Prof. Idit Matot of Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital told Ynet. “Today we see more people under the age of 60 than over the age of 60.”

“At present, less than 20% of our patients are over the age of 60 – including those who are not vaccinated. This is a trend that has been happening for the past two weeks and is increasing,” Matot said.

However, Matot noted a spike in hospitalizations of “really young people, in their 30s, who are not vaccinated,” many of whom are seriously ill and connected to ventilators to keep them alive, which she said is “something we have hardly seen before.”

“We are witnessing tragedies here. There is nothing that can explain this change other than the vaccine,” Matot said.

As of Friday, Health Ministry data showed 4,922 new infections in the past day with a positive test rate of 6.7%, down from 10% last week and reflecting a continuing downward trend as the vaccination campaign continues with all Israelis aged 16 and up now able to get the shots.

Of the the 1,551 Israelis hospitalized with corona, 985 were listed in serious condition – the first time in weeks that the number had dropped below 1,000. Israel’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 5,286, with almost a third of those deaths occurring in the past two months.