Infectious Disease

The speedy rollout of vaccines in Israel is inflicting a pointy drop in extreme COVID-19

February 26, 2021

2 min read

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Lewis does not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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A rapid rollout of vaccines in Israel, prioritizing older adults, resulted in a 67% decrease in the proportion of COVID-19 patients aged 70 and over who required mechanical ventilation compared with those under 50.

According to the study published in MMWR, approximately 84% of people age 70 or older and 10% of people age 50 or younger had received two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by that month.

Israel vaccine infographic

Source: Rinott E, et al. MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021; doi: 10.15585 / mmwr.mm7009e3.

Yair E. Lewis, MD, PhD, of Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv and colleagues said the results of their study confirmed that COVID-19 vaccines “can help limit the spread of disease and potentially reduce the incidence of serious illnesses”.

“Many countries are currently running national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns,” they wrote. “The results of this study provide preliminary but important evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 at the national level in Israel.”

In December, Israel launched a national vaccination campaign with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. It prioritized people aged 60 and over, healthcare workers, and people with underlying vaccination requirements.

Rinott and colleagues conducted an environmental study to assess the effect of vaccination on severe COVID-19, which they defined as COVID-19 that requires mechanical ventilation. They used the Israel Ministry of Health database to get vaccination and case information.

As of February 9, a total of 2.2 million out of 3.6 million adults vaccinated in Israel had received their second dose. The percentages of subjects who received both doses aged 70 years and older, 60 to 69 years, 50 to 59 years and younger than 50 years were 84.3%, 69%, 50.2% and 9.9, respectively %.

Since the country’s vaccination program was implemented, the proportion of ventilation in adults aged 70 and over has decreased from 5.8 to 1 to 1.9 to 1 compared to adults under 50 – a decrease of 67%.

The decline began around the time the second dose of vaccine was started. This could reflect the effects of the first dose, an observation that is consistent with the Pfizer BioNTech Phase 3 vaccine results showing partial efficacy after the first dose, ”the authors wrote.

They found that the limitations of the study included a reliance on preliminary and aggregated data, a limited ability to account for concomitants, and possible differences in compliance with mitigation measures between the age groups studied.

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