To understand the effectiveness of the anti-Covid vaccination, one must look towards Israel

To understand the effectiveness of the anti-Covid vaccination, one must look towards Israel

It is the country at the top of the ranking by number of vaccinations per population unit, thanks to an efficient enrollment and administration system. But still the data coming from there can tell us little for now

(photo: Sander Crombach on Unsplash) Israel's record. How did Israel do it? Israel leader in vaccinations. In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Israel on the pages of newspapers around the world. The reason, in fact, has to do with the vaccination campaign implemented in the country. In fact, at the moment Israel is truly the undisputed leader in world vaccination campaigns launched with the first vaccines: according to the data reported by Our World in Data, the country has a vaccination rate - per single dose - over 50 per 100 people, ahead of the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. For a total of over 4.5 million vaccinated, almost half of the country's population, just over 9 million people.

The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner the results arrive

This speed has catapulted the country into the center of global interest. In fact, we wondered what made such a fast vaccination campaign possible (albeit not without shadows and critical issues, amid fears of vaccination hesitancy in some segments of the population and categories excluded for now, such as the Palestinians). In fact, so far the small country has distinguished itself for an efficient system of organizing, programming and administering vaccines. And, the sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you should see the results of the vaccination. This is why scientists - such as the virologist of the San Raffaele University of Milan Roberto Burioni or the neurobiologist Giorgio Gilestro of the Imperial College London, among others - have emphasized in recent days the importance of closely following the data that will arrive from the country, still under a lockdown that is likely to be extended. Because a lot could tell us about the efficacy of vaccination.

Some clues are already beginning to arrive and could also help to better understand the efficacy of programs other than those tested in trials, such as the one adopted by the United Kingdom, aimed at the delay in the administration of the second dose of vaccine, so as to distribute the drug at the beginning as many people as possible. How valuable these data are is clear, as the agreement between Pfizer and Israel underlined precisely for their sharing.

Vaccination strategies and efficacy data

Let's try to get back on track hence the first results coming from Israel. Last week the results of the analysis of the positivity rate on the population over 60 vaccinated or not after a single dose of vaccine had arrived. The data showed that a single dose reduced infections by about a third 14 days after injection. About double instead waiting a few more days. And at the moment, among those who saw the glass half full and half empty, the feeling of waiting prevailed, as highlighted above all by the rumors that came from the United Kingdom, a country that by choice decided to delay the administration of the second dose.

"The data arriving from Israel are insufficient to show that the current UK strategy of delaying the second dose is somehow wrong", Stephen Evans, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical, commented precisely in this regard. Medicine, as reported by the BBC. In fact, the data were (and are) all too preliminary and could tell little about the effectiveness of a single dose in the real world and even more so of the vaccine administered according to schedule. In the following days, however, others would be added, albeit, it must be said still preliminary and suggested a rather high protection with two administrations of the vaccine, summarizes the New York Times citing the data released by the Ministry of Health and Maccabi Health Services, which they spoke of very low percentages of positives among hundreds of thousands of vaccinated people, from 0.01% to 0.014%.

In the following days the data released by the ministry would have emphasized the effectiveness again, with 0.04% of positives among over 700 thousand vaccinated, and newcomers from the Maccabi Health Service speak of a 92% effectiveness according to the Times of Israel. Clues in favor of the vaccine's effectiveness also seem to arrive indirectly, for example by analyzing the data on the loss of work days of health personnel, among the first to receive the vaccine, as Burioni told on Medical Facts.

What will be the first effects of vaccinations?

But we still need to wait at least a few more weeks. It is too early to take the results from Israel at face value. If the vaccines are having the desired results, it is still too early to separate them from the other measures put in place against the coronavirus and systematically appreciate them on the general trend of the epidemic in the country. Ran Balicer, epidemiologist of Clalit Health Services, in Tel Aviv, also reiterated that it takes time, as reported by Nature. Not only to extrapolate estimates on the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the rate of infections among those receiving injections, or on the ability to reduce hospitalizations and severe forms of the disease (as it would seem), but above all to understand the indirect effects that vaccination can have on the population, protecting unvaccinated people. If present this will probably be among the last effects to manifest, experts explain.

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