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Fauci: Israel ‘way up there’ in vaccination, seeing ‘remarkable’ drop in cases

US infectious disease expert cites Israeli data in saying there is growing proof of inoculation’s ability to fight off illness in individuals as well as halt the pandemic at large

In this Jan. 21, 2021, photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In this Jan. 21, 2021, photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

At a press briefing Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most senior US government expert on the coronavirus, cited Israel’s inoculation campaign as proof of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines while also noting its highly efficient vaccination drive.

“When you look at the [number of] vaccinations per 100 people… Israel is way up there with 78 doses per 100 people, compared to the United States, which has 16.7 doses per 100 people,” Fauci told the media via video conference. “So we have been hearing and seeing in the press that Israel has a remarkable diminution in cases associated with the efficiency of their vaccine.”

Fauci explained that the Israeli inoculation drive may show how vaccines can have a societal effect in reducing the impact of COVID-19.

He said the data shows that the vaccines both protect individuals and have “very important implications from a public health standpoint, for interfering and diminishing the dynamics of the outbreak.”

A massive study by Israel’s largest health provider Clalit found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 94 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and 92% effective in averting serious cases of the disease.

Another study Wednesday by the Maccabi health maintenance organization showed vaccine effectiveness at 95 percent, the exact rate anticipated by Pfizer in its clinical trials.

Maccabi also said that of 602,000 vaccinated individuals, only 608 have been infected, and none have died.

Both studies looked at data for those considered fully vaccinated, which is at least a week after the second dose of the vaccine.

An Israeli man receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection at a Meuhedet vaccination center in Kfar Habad, central Israel, on February 16, 2021. (Flash90)

Earlier in the week it was announced that Fauci had won Israel’s prestigious Dan David Prize for 2021 for a lifetime of leadership on HIV research and AIDS relief, as well as his advocacy for the vaccines against COVID-19.

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