Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sharply reduces symptomatic Covid-19 in the real world, Israeli researchers say

Pfizer-BioNTech's...

Posted: Feb 15, 2021 7:22 AM
Updated: Feb 16, 2021 5:15 PM

Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine appears to reduce symptomatic coronavirus infections by more than 90% in the real world, Israeli researchers said Sunday.

The findings, while preliminary, suggest that the vaccine remains remarkably effective in a mass vaccination campaign -- outside the carefully controlled conditions of a clinical trial.

The Clalit Research Institute, part of a large Israeli health system, analyzed data on 1.2 million people, about half of whom had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Researchers compared patients who received the vaccine with similar individuals who hadn't.

The rate of symptomatic Covid-19 -- meaning people who were infected with the coronavirus and felt sick -- decreased by 94% among people who received two doses of the vaccine, according to a press release from Clalit. The rate of serious illness decreased by 92%.

Full details of the study weren't immediately available, and the research hasn't yet been peer-reviewed. Still, the findings are consistent with data from Pfizer's own vaccine trial, which found that the vaccine conferred 95% protection against symptomatic Covid-19.

'The affirmation is really important, ' says CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

'You want to make sure that the study results that we initially were seeing in tens of thousands of people is reflected when, when the population is in the millions.'

In the Pfizer trial, researchers randomly assigned patients to receive either the vaccine or a placebo. Then they looked to see how many people got sick in each group, and found that the vaccine sharply reduced illness.

Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research Institute, said this is another important aspect reflected in the Israeli study.

'It's highly significant telling us that vaccination, in the real world at scale, achieves remarkable reduction of severe Covid, hospitalizations, and fatalities, fully validating the randomized trial on mRNA vaccines.'

Pfizer's study was a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard in clinical research. The Israeli study, on the other hand, was observational, meaning researchers didn't randomly pick who got the vaccine and who didn't.

That can pose problems; people who choose to get vaccinated, for example, may also be more likely to take other steps to protect themselves.

Researchers said they tried to account for those types of effects, however. And observational studies are important because they can offer certain insight into how well vaccines protect people under real-world conditions.

One of those real-world conditions include the presence of new variants, something Wen says is another reason these findings could be important.

'As I understand most of the the strains that are found in Israel at this point are of the B.1.1.7 variant. And so seeing this level of effectiveness, even in a population that has such a high level of that B.1.1.7 variant, is very good news,' added Wen, although the researchers have not directly addressed variants in their findings thus far.

Pfizer said it will conduct its own analysis of its vaccine in real-world settings worldwide, including Israel.

'It is our understanding that more than half of the current circulating strains in Israel are the UK variant so our ongoing real-world vaccine effectiveness studies there will reflect the effectiveness against that strain. We will share the analysis from Pfizer when we have the full set of results,' the company said in a statement.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 503322

Reported Deaths: 10057
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34400541
DeSoto32318411
Hinds32074631
Jackson24551386
Rankin22103391
Lee15657235
Madison14662281
Jones13894243
Forrest13506253
Lauderdale12037318
Lowndes11091192
Lamar10531138
Pearl River9557238
Lafayette8581140
Hancock7751130
Washington7458161
Oktibbeha7152133
Monroe6796178
Warren6752176
Pontotoc6736104
Neshoba6656206
Panola6572131
Marshall6494135
Bolivar6331150
Union607794
Pike5849154
Alcorn5691102
Lincoln5468135
George502979
Scott474198
Tippah472481
Prentiss471582
Leflore4676144
Itawamba4651105
Tate4632111
Adams4617120
Copiah450092
Simpson4458116
Yazoo445388
Wayne440772
Covington429894
Sunflower4246105
Marion4236108
Coahoma4178108
Leake409888
Newton383179
Grenada3731108
Tishomingo361592
Stone360664
Jasper336565
Attala335290
Winston315391
Clay309077
Chickasaw302367
Clarke295894
Calhoun279947
Holmes268788
Smith266550
Yalobusha237247
Tallahatchie228752
Greene220649
Walthall219364
Lawrence213640
Perry206456
Amite206056
Webster203446
Noxubee186940
Montgomery179757
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169639
Tunica160139
Benton149439
Kemper142141
Choctaw134627
Claiborne132838
Humphreys129738
Franklin120728
Quitman106828
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson95934
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 821255

Reported Deaths: 15424
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1149051930
Mobile726651340
Madison52400699
Shelby37685350
Baldwin37285552
Tuscaloosa35147613
Montgomery34130740
Lee23556246
Calhoun22255490
Morgan21037378
Etowah19844500
Marshall18390304
Houston17406412
St. Clair16091339
Cullman15493293
Limestone15402199
Elmore15292286
Lauderdale14366295
Talladega13870283
DeKalb12670261
Walker11255370
Blount10227176
Autauga10061148
Jackson9909185
Coffee9215191
Dale8912186
Colbert8907201
Tallapoosa7103198
Escambia6782134
Covington6724183
Chilton6658162
Russell637659
Franklin5992105
Chambers5615142
Marion5016127
Dallas5013202
Pike4799106
Clarke477284
Geneva4577127
Winston4538103
Lawrence4352117
Bibb425686
Barbour358376
Marengo338390
Monroe332064
Randolph330264
Butler328596
Pickens317384
Henry313166
Hale311988
Cherokee303260
Fayette294580
Washington251651
Cleburne247960
Clay245568
Crenshaw245475
Macon235563
Lamar225747
Conecuh186654
Coosa180940
Lowndes175764
Wilcox169139
Bullock151844
Perry139240
Sumter133338
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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