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: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530988

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765291522
Mobile40971804
Madison34751503
Tuscaloosa25775452
Montgomery24329589
Shelby23431249
Baldwin21131308
Lee15884171
Calhoun14501314
Morgan14293279
Etowah13831353
Marshall12222223
Houston10567281
Elmore10061205
Limestone9960151
Cullman9664193
St. Clair9655243
Lauderdale9424241
DeKalb8830186
Talladega8223176
Walker7235277
Autauga6920108
Jackson6810112
Blount6660137
Colbert6298134
Coffee5511119
Dale4831111
Russell441138
Chilton4290112
Franklin425782
Covington4121118
Tallapoosa4027152
Escambia393376
Chambers3563123
Dallas3551151
Clarke351061
Marion3118101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274472
Bibb260764
Geneva249977
Marengo249764
Pickens234461
Barbour230857
Hale222977
Butler215969
Fayette212362
Henry188744
Cherokee184845
Randolph180241
Monroe177440
Washington167339
Macon159150
Clay156256
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock123041
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107228
Sumter104532
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
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