One month after the start of Israel's mass-vaccination campaign, initial study results show that the vaccine significantly reduces the number of new Covid-19 infections.
Just two weeks after the first dose of a vaccine manufactured by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, the number of positive coronavirus tests in people over 60 was significantly lower, according to a study by health insurer Clalit.
The study compared a group of about 200,000 vaccinated people over 60 with a non-vaccinated group of the same size and age, explained the chief medical officer, Professor Ran Balicer.
"This is the most interesting age group in terms of the efficacy of the vaccine."
Balicer said that no special tests were initiated, but that the groups were simply "observed in real life."
The results concern people in both groups who had to take coronavirus tests for various reasons - for example, because they had symptoms or had contact with people who had the disease.
Lower proportion of positive tests
"The proportion testing positive - whether symptomatic or asymptomatic - was 33% lower in the vaccinated group than in the non-vaccinated group," Balicer said.
The epidemiologist calls it an "encouraging result, showing that the vaccine is effective even in older people."
As a result, he said, he expects the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients to drop in the near future.
Israel is considered a world leader with its rapid vaccination campaign. More than 2 million people have already received the first dose of the vaccine and about a quarter of a million the second.
Already 75% of people over 60 have been vaccinated, according to Balicer.