Israel’s world-first vaccination data continues to show the strong efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Peer-reviewed correspondence from Sheba Medical Center, published February 18 in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, reveals that the Pfizer vaccine is 85 percent effective even after the first dose.

Sheba’s research team reported that after 7,214 of its healthcare workers received their first dose in January, there was an 85% rate reduction of clinical (symptomatic) Covid-19 disease between 15 and 28 days later.

Overall, both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections were reduced by 75%.

“This supports the British government’s decision to begin inoculating its citizens with a single dose of the vaccine,” said Prof. Arnon Afek, Deputy Director General of Sheba Medical Center.

Prof. Eyal Leshem, Director of Sheba Medical Center’s Institute for Travel & Tropical Medicine added, “This affirms the effectiveness of a single vaccine dose in real-life conditions and shows early effectiveness, even before the second dose was administered.”

Still, the team noted that its results “need further validation through active surveillance and sampling of vaccinated people and unvaccinated controls to ascertain the actual reduction of asymptomatic infection in vaccinated individuals.”

Furthermore, they cautioned, “The early rate reductions seen in [healthcare workers] might differ from vaccine efficacy reported in the general population due to their higher exposure risk or due to exposure to more virulent or infectious strains.”

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of Sheba Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, discussing the Lancet study with reporters on February 18, 2021. Photo courtesy of Sheba Medical Center

Meanwhile, the Israeli Health Ministry has released data suggesting that the full two-dose regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 98.9% effective at preventing death in the approximately 4% of fully vaccinated people who do contract Covid-19.

Furthermore, the ministry’s data shows the vaccine is 99.2% protective against serious Covid-19 illness and decreases the chance of hospitalization by 98.9%.

“The vaccine dramatically reduces serious illness and death, and you can see this influence in our morbidity statistics,” said Health Ministry Director-General Dr. Chezy Levy.

“Thanks to Israel’s strong health system that has allowed us to vaccinate an unprecedented wide percentage of the population, and our epidemiological tracking facilities, we are the first country in the world that can show the effect of the vaccine in the real clinical world,” said Levy.