Israel has become somewhat of a global experiment on the global COVID vaccination front.
It has rolled out vaccines at the fastest pace in the world, with around half of Israel’s population having received the first dose of Pfizer’s two-shot regime and around one-third having received both shots.
The initial results are promising with two studies suggesting that COVID vaccines prevent infection and, therefore, help stop transmission from person to person.
The first study published in the British medical journal the Lancet, but has yet to be peer-reviewed, was by researchers from Chaim Sheba Medical Centre. It compared healthcare workers that had been immunised with the Pfizer vaccine against those that had not and found the vaccine was 75% effective at preventing both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 at 15 to 28 days after the first dose.
The second study by Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry has neither been peer-reviewed nor officially published; although a draft was leaked on Twitter. It found the vaccine to be over 89% effective at preventing infections.
The macro-level data is also encouraging, showing a marked reduction in new daily COVID-19 cases:
A sharp reduction in active cases:
And a sharp fall in daily deaths:
In response, the Israeli Government has now eased restrictions across the country, with those vaccinated receiving additional perks like being permitted back into gyms, movie theatres and swimming pools.
These encouraging results should give other governments around the world confidence to push on with vaccinating their populations.
In Australia’s case, front-line staff like medical and quarantine workers should be given priority, since they are the key gateways for seeding the virus from quarantine into the community. Vulnerable members of society, like the elderly, should also be moved to the front of the queue.
Let’s get the vaccinations rolling so that we can end the lockdowns and get back to some semblance of normal life.