Pfizer vaccine is ‘highly effective’ at reducing spread of Covid-19 - according to a new study

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 12:28 pm
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appears to be highly effective at reducing the spread of the virus, according to a new study (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

According to data from Israel, the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine appears to be highly effective at reducing the spread of the virus.

The study was conducted by Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry, and it shows that the vaccine is 89.4 per cent effective at preventing infections - whether symptomatic or not.

The results of the study have not been publicly released or peer reviewed yet, but the report comes from a draft publication that was obtained by Israeli newspaper Ynet - and has also been confirmed by Bloomberg, the Financial Times and Der Spiegel.

These findings provide the first real world indication that the spread of the virus is likely to be curbed through vaccination.

‘Symptomatic cases dropped 94%’

A previous study, conducted by Clalit, which is the largest healthcare provider in Israel, showed that symptomatic cases of Covid-19 have dropped 94 per cent after two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The preliminary results show a 94 per cent drop in symptomatic cases, and a 92 per cent drop in serious cases.

Professor Ran Balicer, founding director of the Clalit Research Institute, said: “It’s now unequivocally clear that Pfzier’s coronavirus vaccine is extremely effective in real life a week after the second dose, just as was found in the clinic trials.

“Furthermore, the trends we identify indicate that continued follow-up for additional weeks after the second dose will significantly increase the measures efficacy of the vaccine.

“In fact, in a preliminary examination, we identify even higher efficacy for the prevention of symptomatic and severe disease among the vaccinated after 14 days.”

‘Reducing the viral load’

Additionally, in another study, data gathered by researchers in Israel suggests that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is reducing the viral load.

In the study, positive test results of patients aged 60 and over had up to 60 per cent smaller viral loads on the swab compared to the 40 to 59 age group.

The paper explains that this is because, by this point, more than 75 per cent of the over 60s age group have had at least 14 days since their first dose, in comparison to the 25 per cent of 40 to 60 year olds.

While the results are based on only partial data, since the researchers did not know if the individual samples came from a vaccinated person or not, the results appear encouraging.

It shows that once someone is vaccinated, even if they have the virus in their system, they are less likely to transmit it on to someone else because they have fewer infectious Covid-19 droplets in their noses and throats.

The study said: “Previous studies have shown that viral load has been associated with transmission rates and Covid-19 disease severity.

“Therefore, our results indicate that while vaccinated individuals might be positive, they have lower viral load and therefore can be less infective and might also experience a milder disease.

“Our findings highlight that vaccination does not only protect the individual who receives it, but is likely to reduce viral shedding and therefore transmission in the population.”