New preliminary data adds concrete evidence that coronavirus vaccines can reduce severe cases of COVID-19 nationwide, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In about three months, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine reduced the need for mechanical ventilation by 67% in people 70 and older, compared to those under 50. The study was conducted in Israel, where the vaccination rate per capita is the highest. in the world.
The findings align with clinical trial results and add promising evidence that injections work among real-world populations – a scenario that could not have been tested in controlled laboratory environments.
And because the two COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed in the United States offer similar levels of protection against the coronavirus, the report suggests that the same benefits also apply to the Moderna vaccine.
Yet vaccines do not prevent coronavirus infection, but rather serious illness and death, although data indicates that vaccines reduce the likelihood that an infected vaccinated person will pass the virus on to others.
“Considering the vaccination rate and the expected efficacy of the vaccine, this study provides preliminary evidence at the population level for the reduction in the risk of severe COVID-19, as evidenced by the need for mechanical ventilation, after vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, ”the CDC said in the report.
“These data are consistent with preliminary reports showing a reduction in COVID-19 cases and severe cases in the vaccinated population and a reduction in viral load in those vaccinated compared to that of unvaccinated people.”
Israel launched a nationwide vaccination campaign on December 20, with a strong focus on people over the age of 60, health workers and people with underlying health conditions. As of February, about 84% of people 70 and over had received both doses.
By comparing the group with the highest vaccination rates to the group with the lowest (about 10% of people under the age of 50), the researchers were able to analyze how well the Pfizer vaccine was preventing severe COVID-19.
The launch of the mass vaccination was followed by a strict national stay-at-home order from Jan.8, the report said, joining with school closures, restrictions on business and travel activities, and mask warrants.
From October to December 2020 to February 2021, the need for mechanical ventilation among people aged 70 and over fell by 67%, compared to those under the age of 50. This drop became apparent when the second doses began to be administered on January 10.
The CDC said this may “mirror the effects of the first dose,” as reported in Pfizer’s Phase 3 clinical laboratory trial. The results showed that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine provided “partial” protection.
The United States ranks fourth after Israel, // the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom for the total number of COVID-19 vaccinations per 100 people, according to Our World in Data.
More than 46 million Americans have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of February 25 – nearly 14% of the U.S. population, according to a CDC tracker. More than 21.5 million people have received a second final dose.