Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine offers more protection than earlier thought with its efficacy in preventing symptomatic infection reaching 97%, according to real-world evidence published Thursday by pharmaceutical companies.
Using data from January 17 to March 6 from Israel's national vaccination campaign, Pfizer and BioNTech found that prevention against asymptomatic disease also reached 94%.
An earlier real-world study using data from between December 20, 2020, and February 1, 2021, had shown effectiveness at preventing symptomatic disease at 94% and asymptomatic illness at 92%.
"This comprehensive real-world evidence ... can be of importance to countries around the world as they advance their own vaccination campaigns one year after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic," the two pharmaceutical companies said in a statement.
Israel's inoculation campaign is the fastest in the world, with about 40% of the population already fully vaccinated against the virus.
Israel, which launched its vaccination campaign in December, has given the recommended two jabs of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to just under four million of its roughly nine million people.
More than five million have received one shot.
"Incidence rates in the fully vaccinated population have massively dropped compared to the unvaccinated population, showing a marked decline in hospitalised cases due to COVID-19," said Israel´s Ministry of Health director Yeheskel Levy.
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