An Israeli healthcare group reports that coronavirus infections have plunged among people aged over 60 who received the Pfizer vaccine.

The full effects of Pfizer’s vaccine are only slated to kick in around a month after the first shot, but data from Israel, home to the world’s fastest vaccination drive, has already shown that there is a stark drop in infections even before this point.

Attracting widespread international interest by sharing early data, Maccabi Healthcare Services reported earlier this month that it has seen a 60 percent reduction in coronavirus infections three weeks after the first shot is administered.

…The decrease in hospital admissions is swift after vaccination, Maccabi suggests in its latest data, finding that hospitalizations start to fall sharply from Day 18 after people receive the first shot. Galia Rahav, head of infectious diseases at Israel’s largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center, described the data as “very important.”

By Day 23, which is 2 days after the second shot, there is a 60% drop in hospitalizations among vaccinated people aged 60-plus, Maccabi revealed after monitoring 50,777 patients. It compared their hospitalization rate at that point with their hospitalization rate soon after receiving the vaccine, using 7-day moving averages.

Israel was granted access to large amounts of Pfizer’s vaccine after agreeing to provide data about its citizens for the company to track the vaccine’s progress. The numbers show some encouraging results in the steep drop in hospitalizations.

Out of 82,930 active cases on Thursday, 1,918 were hospitalized. Last week, the hospitalisation figure was just over 1,000.

Officials had hoped that the vaccine drive – which began on December 19 – would start to show an effect by mid-February.

But KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center claimed on Friday there had been a ‘significant decrease’ in the number of coronavirus infections among people aged over 60 who were vaccinated between December 19 and 24.

After analysing data of more than 50,000 patients aged over 60, they also found that hospitalisations in the same group had plunged by more than 60 per cent.

There was also a dramatic drop in new infections:

KSM, which is part of Israeli healthcare provider Maccabi, noted that there was a ‘significant decrease within the vaccinated members aged 60+’, reaching a decrease of around 60 per cent in new infections.

They added that there was also a ‘decrease of slightly more than 60 per cent in the number of new hospitalised patients.’

However, KSM cautioned that ‘on this level of efficiency, there should be no exemption from performing Corona tests, isolation, or the enablement of crowded gatherings, until additional convincing data is obtained.

Meanwhile, scientists in Brazil have downgraded their rating of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine’s efficacy, which was hailed as a significant triumph last week.

Officials at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo said on Tuesday that a trial conducted in Brazil showed that the CoronaVac vaccine, made by the Beijing-based company Sinovac, had an efficacy rate just over 50 percent. That rate, slightly above the benchmark that the World Health Organization has said would make a vaccine effective for general use, was far below the 78 percent level announced last week.

The implications could be significant for a vaccine that is crucial to China’s global health diplomacy. At least 10 countries have ordered more than 380 million doses of CoronaVac, though regulatory agencies have yet to fully approve it.

 

 
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