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Citing Israeli data, Pfizer says shot is 97% effective against symptomatic COVID

Illustrative: A man receives Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Paris on March 6, 2021. (AP/Christophe Ena)
Illustrative: A man receives Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Paris on March 6, 2021. (AP/Christophe Ena)

Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine offers more protection than earlier thought with effectiveness in preventing symptomatic disease reaching 97 percent, according to real-world evidence published today by the two pharmaceutical companies.

Using data from January 17 to March 6 from Israel’s national vaccination campaign, Pfizer-BioNTech found that prevention against asymptomatic disease also reached 94 percent.

An earlier real-world study using data from between December 20, 2020 and February 1, 2021 had shown effectiveness at preventing symptomatic disease at 94 percent and asymptomatic illness at 92 percent.

“This comprehensive real-world evidence… can be of importance to countries around the world as they advance their own vaccination campaigns one year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic,” the two pharmaceutical companies say in a statement.

Israel’s inoculation campaign is the fastest in the world, with some 44 percent of the population already fully vaccinated against the virus. More than five million have received one shot.

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