The Pfizer/BiNTech Covid vaccine was tested for efficacy in research conducted by the Sheba Medical Centre, Israel’s largest hospital. The findings have been published in the Lancet medical journal. The hospital assessed the effectiveness of the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine among 7,000 of its healthcare employees.
The workers each received their first dose in January and an 85 percent reduction of clinical COVID-19 between 15 and 28 days after the jab was observed.
Efficacy was also observed in asymptomatic patients.
The study found all infections, including asymptomatic, were reduced by 75 percent after the first dose.
“This is first real-world evidence of effectiveness that shows up after the first dose of the vaccine,” Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease expert and director of Sheba’s Institute for Travel and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News.
“We had some hints from the clinical trials and some calculations that were made based on the clinical trial [but] this shows early effectiveness, even before the second dose was administered.”
He added: “I would say there is some evidence to support the decision to postpone the second dose, because, on one hand, we seem to have very good effectiveness of the first dose: early and high effectiveness.
“And on the other hand, postponing the second dose will allow much higher coverage… given the limited vaccine supply.”
The research comes just two weeks after another study found a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be 90 percent effective after 21 days.
The study was carried out by the University of East Anglia who said it was “highly protective” after 21 days without a ‘top up’ dose in the recommended time frame.
The findings supported the UK’s plans to delay the timing of the second jab.
The scientists did warn people’s risk of infection from the virus doubled in the first eight days after the vaccine, citing people becoming less cautious as a possible cause.