Coronavirus

Israel: single dose of Biontech vaccine “less effective than hoped for”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on January 9, 2021.

MIRIAM ALSTER / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Israel is ahead when it comes to the corona vaccination. It’s officially the fastest country in the world, and by Jan. 19, vaccinated 25.6 percent of the population with the first dose of Biontech and Pfizer’s vaccine. Now the head of the Corona office is warning that a dose may not have the desired effect.

Nachman Ash, Israel’s commissioner for the coronavirus, urged caution and told the Israeli army radio that a single dose “seems to be less effective than we thought,” reports The Guardian. The vaccine is designed to be given in two syringes – the second dose is given about three weeks after the first. The Israeli authorities also adhere to this vaccination schedule.

UK and USA want to inoculate first dose as often as possible first

Britain, on the other hand, is pursuing a different strategy. Here, as many people as possible should first receive the first dose of vaccine. The UK government hopes that partial immunity in many people is better than complete immunity in a few people. This can delay the administration of the second dose by up to twelve weeks.
Joe Biden should also plan to provide all vaccination doses for US citizens so that as many people as possible can be vaccinated.

A December 2020 study by Biontech and Pfizer found that the vaccine was 52 percent effective after the first dose and 95 percent effective after the second dose. The Israeli authorities say the single dose only appears 33 percent effective – which would be a significant loss of protection.

UK checks vaccination “very carefully”

Sir Patrick Vallance, the British government’s scientific advisor, tells the British broadcaster Sky News that he will check “very carefully” the level of protection for those vaccinated. He did not say the UK should change its strategy, but that the government “needs to keep analyzing data” while the vaccine continues to be administered.

British scientists concluded in December that Biontech’s vaccine was 89 percent effective about ten days after a dose. Vallance said that while he expected the effectiveness to be slightly lower, he doesn’t believe it is “as low” as Israel reports.

It is assumed that the first dose of vaccine will only work after about ten days. If this time period is included, this could explain the low registered effectiveness rate.

This text was translated from English by Hendrikje Rudnick. You can find the original here.

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