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Israel warns that single dose of Pfizer vaccine is ‘less effective than we hoped’ against COVID-19, and could be a blow to US and UK strategies



Israeli vaccine
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on January 9, 2021
. MIRIAM ALSTER / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
  • The Israeli coronavirus chief warned that the first dose of Pfizer vaccine seemed “less effective” than expected.

  • This may be of concern to the United Kingdom and the United States, which prioritize widespread first doses.

  • Israel has vaccinated a larger proportion of its population than any other country.

  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

An Israeli official in charge of the country’s coronavirus response has warned that it has less of an effect than he hoped after giving a dose of the vaccine.

The country has had the fastest vaccine distribution in the world and has given its first dose of Pfizer / BioNTech to 25.6% of its population since January 19, according to Our World in Data.

But a warning came from Nahman Ash, Israel’s coronavirus commissioner, who told Israeli army radio that a single dose appeared to be “less effective than we thought”, according to The Guardian.

The vaccine is designed to be given in two shots, with the second dose given three weeks after the first in clinical trials. This is how Israel is spreading the vaccine.

But the strategy raises concerns for the United Kingdom, which gives priority to giving people the first dose of the vaccine.

This means delaying the second dose by up to 12 weeks so that as many people as possible receive their first dose. The hope is that partial immunity among many people is better than fuller immunity for fewer people.

And it could also raise concerns for the United States, where incoming President Joe Biden plans to release all available doses of vaccines to maximize the number of people receiving shots, which could lead to delays in second doses, although the plan The US has to give them all a schedule.

Britain's first vaccines
The patient was vaccinated in London, UK, on ​​December 8. Jack Hill – Billiards / Getty Images

Pfizer says a single dose of the vaccine is about 52% effective, while getting a second dose makes it about 95% effective.

According to Israel, the single dose seems to be only about 33% effective, which is a significant loss.

Sir Patrick Valance, chief scientific adviser to the UK government, told Britain’s Sky News that he would look “very closely” at the level of protection people receive.

He did not say Britain should change its strategy, but that the government would “just have to keep measuring the numbers” as the vaccine is given to the people.

In December, British scientists said that clinical trial data suggested that the Pfizer vaccine would be 89% effective about 10 days after a single dose.

pfizer covid 19 vaccine distribution
Assistant April Massaro gave the first dose of COVID-19 to Pfizer BioNTech in California in December 2020. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Valance said this week that the real efficiency rate has always been expected to be lower than that, but he does not think it will be “as low” as Israel reported.

It is believed that the first dose of the vaccine does not offer any protection until about 10 days after receiving the shot, and including those days when you are trying to understand how effective the first dose is, you will reduce the number.

It is important to note that the UK does not only use the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. He also uses the AstraZeneca / Oxford University vaccine, where studies show that splitting can actually provide more protection.

Read the original Business Insider article


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