It was found that the vaccine was 89.4 percent efficient in preventing Sars-CoV-2 infections. That would give hope for the further course of the pandemic. In Israel, 1.7 million people – around a third of the population – are now vaccinated.
So far only speculation
The results of the investigation had been eagerly awaited, as clinical trials for the approval of corona vaccines could only examine how effectively Covid 19 disease is prevented. Whether vaccinated people can still pass the virus on remained a matter of speculation. Biontech boss Uğur Şahin was correspondingly cautious: he hoped that his vaccine could prevent 60 percent of infections.
The numbers that have now leaked are a pleasant surprise: In the group of people who had been vaccinated twice, there were only 1,842 Sars-CoV-2 infections. This contrasted with 76,797 infections in the unvaccinated control group – which corresponds to an incidence rate of 114.4 that is about ten times as high. This suggests that vaccinated people not only protect themselves, but also others.
Who now asks: But what about the mutations? Variant B.1.1.7 was already the dominant one during the investigation with 81 percent of the cases.
Israel’s Corona officer Nachman Asch is still slowing down for the time being and is quoted by the Israeli media on Sunday as saying that the data should be treated with caution: “We don’t yet know enough about infections, that’s the big unknown.” It is clear that the Vaccination prevents serious disease courses. “But I don’t know to what extent it prevents vaccinated people from carrying and passing on the virus.” He hopes that more will be found out about it in the coming weeks.
Biontech / Pfizer will not comment on the data until the study has been published on a preprint server and in a specialist magazine.
If the results from Israel are confirmed, the danger would be averted that in the worst case, those who have been vaccinated will become asymptomatically infected as an army who, unsuspecting and believing themselves safe, will infect others. If, on the other hand, almost 90 percent of those vaccinated are actually no longer infected with Sars-CoV-2, it should be much easier to control the pandemic in the next few months, and contact restrictions could possibly also be relaxed earlier.
New virus variants also have a harder time. Even herd immunity then appears to be achievable – a state in which so many people in the population are immune that it becomes unlikely that an infected person will still meet many people to infect.
The only downer: statements about the South African variant cannot be made – there were too few cases.