(Image Credit: AP/PTI)
At least two doses of Pfizer–BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine provide more than 95 percent protection against the novel coronavirus among the elderly patients, a new study published in The Lancet has found. One of the biggest national-level observational assessments in Israel that tested the nationwide efficacy of the vaccine showed that the two shots of Pfizer were effective in drastically reducing the COVID-19 fatality ratio, and the rate of hospitalization. After receiving the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine, Israel’s Ministry of Health (MoH) launched a campaign to immunize the 6·5 million citizens aged 16 years and older. Scientists conducted a national analysis of the effectiveness of two doses of BNT162b2 against a range of SARS-CoV-2 outcomes.
To ascertain the study results, researchers gathered national surveillance data from the first 4 months of the nationwide vaccination campaign, as well as vaccine uptake in residents of Israel aged 16 years and older. Pfizer’s efficacy was gauged against the asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptomatic infection, COVID-19-related hospitalization, severe or critical hospitalization from coronavirus, and death. During the analysis of the “fully vaccinated” citizens between Jan 24 to April 3, 2021, scientists found that there were approximately 232, 268 SARS-CoV-2 infections, 7,694 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 4,481 severe or critical COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 1,113 COVID-19 deaths in people aged 16 years or older.
Visit our new-look COVID-19 Resource Centre—We've made the latest research and reviews on #COVID19 more accessible and easy to navigate. Use the new search function to explore all content from across the Lancet family of journals. https://t.co/IBJMsyqQEi pic.twitter.com/9RyUVzMZNK— The Lancet (@TheLancet) March 30, 2021
“In all age groups, as vaccine coverage increased, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 outcomes declined,” the new study based on the nationwide analysis in Israel said. “Two doses of BNT162b2 are highly effective across all age groups in preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19-related hospitalizations, severe disease, and death, including those caused by the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant,” it added.
By April 3, nearly 72·1 percent population was fully vaccinated with two doses of BNT162b2, and the vaccine’s protection against the novel coronavirus infection at seventh day or longer, after the second shot, was 95·3 percent and 97·0 percent against the asymptomatic infection. The vaccine was found to be equally effective against the prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant, with 94·5 percent protection from SARS-CoV-2 variant infections. Researchers found a “sustained decline” in SARS-CoV-2 cases corresponding to increasing vaccine coverage. "These findings suggest that COVID-19 vaccination can help control the pandemic,” they said.