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19th Feb 2021

Covid-19: Study finds Pfizer/BioNTech offers up to 85% efficacy after first dose


Good news

There’s not been an awful lot of good news around in recent weeks but – and we say this with caution – it does seem that things are gradually looking up.

While the vaccine continues to be rolled out on these shores, a new study from Israel has concluded that Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab is up to 85% effective after the first dose – a higher figure than previous studies had suggested.

The research was conducted by Israel’s largest hospital, the Sheba Medical Centre, and has now been published in the Lancet medical journal.

Assessing the effective of the first does of Pflizr/BioNTech’s vaccine amongst 7,000 staff, researchers observed an 85 per cent reduction of clinical (symptomatic) Covid-19 within 15 and 28 days.

Importantly, efficacy in asymptomatic patients was also observed, with the study finding that all infections, including asymptomatic, fell by 75 per cent after the first dose.

“This is first real-world evidence of effectiveness that shows up after the first dose of the vaccine,” Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease expert and director of Sheba’s Institute for Travel and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News.

“We had some hints from the clinical trials and some calculations that were made based on the clinical trial [but] this shows early effectiveness, even before the second dose was administered.

After some questioned the UK government for delaying the second dose of the vaccine beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations, the new study’s findings will come as a boost to those behind the decision.

“This ground-breaking research supports the British government’s decision to begin inoculating its citizens with a single dose of the vaccine,” said Professor Arnon Afek, deputy director-general of Sheba Medical Centre and author of the report.