Isn’t it known how well the vaccines work?
Yes and no. In fact, there is reliable data for the three vaccines approved in the EU on how well they protect against coronavirus disease. The active ingredient from Biontech / Pfizer has efficacy values of more than 90 percent. However, until now it was unclear whether the vaccines only ensure that the disease does not break out or also protect against the infection as such. This is an important difference, because in order to contain the pandemic as quickly as possible, as few people as possible should be infected.
What kind of manuscript is there at the moment?
It is a previously unpublished publication by Biontech and Pfizer together with the Israeli Ministry of Health. Using Israeli health data from vaccinated and unvaccinated people, it was examined, among other things, how well the active ingredient protects against diseases, but also against infections. It is important to know that the manuscript has neither been published by the company nor in a specialist journal that has been peer-reviewed. It was leaked to Israeli journalists from the “ynet” Internet portal and is available to the German Press Agency. Neither Biontech nor the Israeli Ministry of Health wanted to comment.
What’s in the manuscript?
The authors of the study write of an “effectiveness” of 89.4 percent for this protection.
Why should this number be used with caution?
The authors themselves point out that their approach may have led to the effect of vaccination on infections being overestimated. Because in Israel, unvaccinated people are tested more often than vaccinated people. For this reason alone, there could have been more positive tests in the unvaccinated group.
The Ministry of Health made it clear that the data on effectiveness against infections are the least certain compared to the other data.”
What significance would it have if the risk of infection for vaccinated people were much lower?
The hope is that those who have been vaccinated will rarely be infected with Sars-CoV-2 and thus not pass on the pathogen. That would help enormously to get the infection situation under control.
When could there be more clarity?
The two companies were expected to publish the paper in the coming days. Israel’s coronavirus commissioner Nachman Asch told the army broadcaster on Sunday that it was still unclear to what extent the vaccination would also prevent the infection of others. He hoped to find out more about it in the coming weeks. Other vaccine manufacturers have ongoing studies on the subject.
Which results are still in the study manuscript?
The study also showed that the vaccine also works with the more contagious variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in Great Britain. Because at the time of the investigation, four out of five positive tests were due to the variant.