Employees of Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan who received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine have more antibodies against the novel coronavirus than do people who had the disease and recovered.
This finding was based on blood tests from 102 vaccinated Sheba employees. More than 7,000 workers at the medical center have so far been vaccinated.
Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of Sheba’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, said these results “are in line with Pfizer’s experiment and even better than expected.”
Among the 102 people tested, 98 percent showed a six- to 12-fold increase in antibodies against the virus. Two people developed hardly any antibodies at all, for reasons that are being investigated.
It is still unknown how long the antibodies, from either the disease or the vaccine, remain effective. Israel’s national health maintenance organizations have found immunity is greatest 14 days after the second dose.
However, Regev-Yochay said that the initial results indicate that “the vaccine works wonderfully” and that fully vaccinated people are unlikely to be carriers of the infection.
As of January 18, Israel has vaccinated 29.43 people per capita, the highest rate in the world. According to the Health Ministry, 2,116,291 Israelis have had the first Pfizer shot and 309,450 got both doses as of January 18.
In the meantime, however, the daily rate of new corona cases continues to rise to record levels in Israel. Today, the Health Ministry said that 10,021 infections were confirmed on Monday – the highest figure yet – bringing the country’s total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 562,167, including 81,059 active cases.