Pfizer Booster Significantly Lowers Risk Of Covid-19 Infection Among Elderly, Israeli Gov’t Finds

The Israeli Health Ministry published Sunday's findings that a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine significantly increased protection against infection and serious illness in older people over 60. This finding will likely increase the demand for a third dose to better protect the elderly and immunocompromised.

A Tel Aviv-based Israeli medical worker prepares a dose for the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Reuters reported that among people 60 years and older, the health ministry's findings revealed that the booster dose provided a fourfold increase in infection prevention after 10 days compared with people who had received two doses. In the same age group, the third dose offered five to six times greater protection against serious illness or hospitalization after a period of 10 days. Israel is home to one of the largest vaccine rolls in the world. However, there has been a significant resurgence in Covid-19 within its borders. This was largely due to the more infectious delta variant. The Times of Israel reported that officials noted that most people suffering from severe Covid-19 symptoms are not vaccinated.

Important Quote

Sharon Alroy-Preis (Israel's head of the public health services) stated last week that there is cautious optimism and that we are seeing a reduction in serious morbidity.

Big Number

1.5 million. This is the number of Israelis who have received a 3rd dose of vaccine out of Israel's 9.3 million inhabitants, Reuters reports. Bloomberg's tracker shows that around 60% of Israel's population has had at least two doses.

Important Background

Data from Israel showed that vaccines proved to be significantly less effective at preventing infection from the more contagious delta variant, which began to sweep Israel last week. Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine was only 39% effective in preventing infection and 41% effective in preventing symptoms from the delta variant. The vaccine provided 91% protection against severe diseases, but there were concerns about the waning immunity of the elderly and immunocompromised. Israel began giving booster shots to over-60s on July 30. It extended eligibility to all people over 40 years of age, as well as pregnant women, teachers and health care workers under that age. People who have had their second dose within the last five months will be administered the third dose by Israel. The U.S., Canada and France have also followed suit, with plans to offer booster shots.

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Israel discovers that the COVID-19 vaccine booster dramatically lowers the infection risk (Reuters).

Nearly 200 deaths due to COVID were reported during the week. However, booster data suggests that there are still hope (Times Of Israel).

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