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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine proven 94% effective in biggest study yet

Published on 15/02/21 at 12:12pm

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be 94% effective, according to the first major study to evaluate the shot’s efficacy.

Israel’s largest health maintenance organisation the Clalit Institute for Research released the results of their study yesterday, which evaluated the rate of infection of 600,000 people one week after being given the vaccine.

The study involved 1.2 million people in total, with half the participants vaccinated with two doses of the shot, and half, who had similar characteristics to the other group, unvaccinated. 

The results showed that the vaccinated group were 94% less likely to develop a symptomatic infection of COVID-19, and 92% less likely to become seriously ill from the virus. The shot was most effective one week after the second dose, as Pfizer themselves had previously found.

The vaccine was also proven to be as effective among the over-70s as with younger participants, with 170,000 (28%) of those given the shot over 60 years of age.

This news comes as several European countries have chosen not to administer the Oxford University-AstraZeneca shot to older people, citing fears over efficacy, despite assurances from WHO.

Head of the Clalit Research Institute, Professor Ran Balicer told Globes: "Together with our colleagues at Harvard University, we have conducted a series of tests to validate the results and we have found in an unequivocal way that Pfizer's vaccination against COVID-19 is most effective in real life, a week after the second dose, exactly as the clinical research found.

"Moreover, the trend we identify tracking after additional weeks after the second dose significantly increases the efficacy measured of the vaccination. In fact, in terms of more than 14 days and more after the second dose, in initial tests, we identify even higher efficacy.”

The Institute will be releasing further data soon with an exact evaluation of the efficacy of the vaccine after more time has passed.

Jack Goddard

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