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


A booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people who are older than 60, findings published by the Israeli Health Ministry on Sunday showed, a finding that will likely bolster the push for deploying a third dose of the vaccine to better protect elderly and immunocompromised populations.

Key Facts

Among people aged 60 and older, the health ministry’s findings showed that the booster dose offered a four-fold increase in protection from infection after 10 days compared to people who have received only two doses, Reuters reported.

The third dose also offered five to six times stronger protection against hospitalization or serious illness after 10 days in the same age group.

Despite having one of the widest vaccine rollouts in the world, Israel has seen a major resurgence of Covid-19 inside its borders largely fueled by the more infectious delta variant.

However, officials have noted that the vast majority of the people who are suffering serious bouts of Covid-19 are unvaccinated, the Times of Israel reported.

Crucial Quote

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel’s head of public health services said last week: “There is cautious optimism, and we see a curbing of serious morbidity.”

Big Number

1.5 million. That’s the total number of Israelis who have received a third vaccine dose out of the country’s 9.3 million population, Reuters reports. According to Bloomberg’s tracker, around 60% of the country’s population has received at least two doses of the vaccine.

Key Background

As the delta variant began to sweep Israel last month, data from the country showed that vaccines were significantly less effective in preventing infections from the more contagious variant. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be just 39% effective at preventing infections and 41% effective at preventing symptomatic infections from delta. While the vaccine still provided a robust 91% protection against severe disease, there were concerns about waning immunity among the elderly and immunocompromised. On July 30, Israel started administering booster shots to people over the age of 60. Last week it dropped that age of eligibility to people who are 40 or older and also included pregnant women, teachers, and health care workers below that age. Israel is administering the third dose to people who have received their second dose at least five months earlier. Other countries including the U.S., Canada, France and Germany have followed suit with plans to rollout booster shots.

Further Reading

Israel finds COVID-19 vaccine booster significantly lowers infection risk (Reuters)

Nearly 200 COVID deaths reported in past week, but booster data raises hopes (Times Of Israel)

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