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Pfizer vaccine 94% effective at preventing symptomatic infections of COVID-19, Israeli study shows

Israel's vaccine rollout shows signs of success
Israel's vaccine rollout shows signs of succe... 01:43

A large-scale Israeli study has pointed to the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at preventing symptomatic infections with the coronavirus. Clalit, the largest of Israel's four health care providers, released a study Sunday that compared infections in 600,000 Israelis who had received the vaccine compared with 600,000 who were not immunized.

The study found a 94% drop in symptomatic infections and a 92% drop in serious cases of the disease among those vaccinated. It said "the efficacy of the vaccine is preserved in every age group," particularly a week after the second dose of the vaccine.

The researchers said the preliminary findings of the ongoing research "is aimed at emphasizing to the population that has yet to vaccinate that the vaccine is highly effective and prevents serious illness."

Israel launched its COVID-19 vaccine campaign in December. Since then, more than a quarter of the population — 2.5 million people — have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and over 42% have received the first shot, according to the Health Ministry.

The country of 9 million people, which is currently easing restrictions imposed during its third nationwide lockdown, is aiming to vaccinate everyone over the age of 16 by the end of March.

"The publication of preliminary results at this stage is intended to emphasise to the unvaccinated population that the vaccine is highly effective and prevents serious morbidity," Clalit said Sunday.

It added that the study covered people who had received the second shot at least seven days before being tested, and would be expanded in future.

"With each additional week that passes, we will be able to make the assessment more accurate."

Accuracy would improve as subjects are tested after 14 days or more from the second dose, it said.

The AFP contributed to this report.

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