Pfizer and BioNTech Report 97% COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy in Israel Population

March 12, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

The data additionally show a 94% prevention against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, at a time when the country's dominant strain was the B.1.1.7 variant.

Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine BNT162b2 has been associated with 97% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, severe disease, and death among real-world patients in Israel.

The new findings, presented in collaboration with the Israel Ministry of Health (MoH), show the particular efficacy of the widely authorized two-dose mRNA vaccine 14 days after the second dose.

What’s more, the continued evidence of the vaccine in a real-world population—one which, in Israel, is among the most vaccinated national populations per capita globally—even in the face of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants including B.1.1.7, support hope for an eventual mitigation of the pandemic.

The Pfizer and MoH investigators reported analyses derived from de-identified aggregate surveillance data collected from the Israel population from January 17 – March 6 of this year. In the observed time period, BNT162b2 was the lone authorized vaccine in the country, and B.1.1.7 was already the dominant strain.

The surveillance data, to be submitted to a peer-reviewed medical journal for publication, is part of a collaborative agreement between the pharmaceutical company and the national health authority to monitor real-world outcomes associated with the vaccine.

Investigators observed all outcomes of COVID-19 prevalence and severity among vaccinated persons in Israel after they had reached 2 weeks post-final dose.

They found BNT162b2 was 97% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalizations, severe and critical disease, and deaths. Additionally, it was associated with 94% effectiveness versus asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Professor Yeheskel Levy, Israel MoH director, credited the country’s strong health system, as well as “unprecedented societal mobilization and awareness” to achieve a vaccine rollout plan that’s resulted in 45% of the population already being fully vaccinated form COVID-19.

“Incidence rates in the fully vaccinated population have massively dropped compared to the unvaccinated population, showing a marked decline in hospitalized cases due to COVID-19,” Levy said in a statement. “This clearly demonstrates the power of the COVID-19 vaccine to fight this virus and encourages us to continue even more intensively with our vaccination campaign.”