Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine limits transmission, study in Israel finds

The studies still require peer-review and further confirmation

Two new Israeli studies into the efficacy of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccines suggest that the vaccine greatly reduces virus transmission.

Both studies require further confirmation and peer-review, but the results indicate a significant reduction for transmission of both symptomatic and asymptomatic spread.

The newest study, published Friday in British medical journal The Lancet, showed an 85 percent reduction in symptomatic COVID-19 within 15 to 28 days, with an overall reduction of infections – including asymptomatic spread – of 75 percent.

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Michal Linial, professor of molecular biology and bioinformatics at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, said the findings were a big step forward.

"Whether it is 75 or 90 percent reduction doesn’t matter - it is a big drop in transmission," Linial told Reuters. "It means that not only is the individual vaccinated protected, the inoculation also provides protection to his or her surroundings."

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Another study conducted by the Israeli Health Ministry and Pfizer Inc. found that the vaccine reduced infection in asymptomatic cases by around 89 percent and in symptomatic cases by around 94 percent.

That study already showed promising results in late January when researchers saw a 31 percent drop in hospitalizations from COVID-19 among those vaccinated, the New York Times reported.

"The vaccinations are a very good tool but this is hardly the end," cautioned Eran Kopel, an epidemiologist at Tel Aviv University. "This is a dynamic virus that has surprised the scientific world with its fast pace of change and variety."

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Kopel said that the data from the Health Ministry was promising, but further studies are needed.