Pfizer-BioNTech study supports 97% effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

March 11, 2021 -- Real-world evidence released by the Israel Ministry of Health demonstrates dramatically lower incidence rates of COVID-19 disease in individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The data confirm that the vaccine is effective in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, severe and critical hospitalizations, and deaths. The data show that two weeks after the second vaccine dose, the vaccine effectiveness was at least 97% in preventing symptomatic disease, severe/critical disease, and death. The analysis found that the vaccine was 94% effective against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The data were derived from de-identified aggregate Israel Ministry of Health surveillance data collected between January 17 and March 6, 2021, a time when the B.1.1.7 variant was the predominant strain in the country.

Following the authorization for emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Israel on December 6, 2020, the Israel Ministry of Health launched a national vaccination program targeting individuals age 16 years or older -- a total of 6.4 million people, representing 71% of the population. Israel regularly collects comprehensive, real-time data on SARS-CoV-2 testing, COVID-19 cases, including date of symptom onset, and vaccination history, through a nationally notifiable disease registry and the national medical record database.

In January, Pfizer and the Israel Ministry of Health entered into a collaboration agreement to monitor the real-world effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. The organizations plan to submit the data to a peer-reviewed journal.

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