Israel’s vaccine success is the best news of the pandemic!

Israel has been the most aggressive country in the world in vaccinating their population. They paid a premium to obtain the Pfizer vaccine early on and used it initially for their elderly population, 60 years of age and older. The results are now just being observed and are impressive. They truly indicate that vaccination will eventually end the pandemic. 

Eran Segal

Data presented in a series of tweets by Eran Segal from the Weizmann Institute and now presented in an unreviewed manuscript, show that vaccination has impressively reduced new infections and hospitalizations in Israelis over age 60.

First, to demonstrate how effective Israel’s COVID-19 immunization campaign has been, by February 2nd 2021, 42.8% and 27.6% of the entire Israeli population (88.9% and 77.7% of individuals older than 60 years old) had received the first dose or both doses of the vaccine, respectively, or recovered from COVID-19.

Segal and his co-authors looked at the early effects of the vaccination campaign and examined changes in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over time, comparing individuals above 60 years old (first eligible to receive the vaccine) and younger individuals 0-59 years old who just recently have vaccine access. They also compared cities that vaccinated earlier in time with later vaccinated cities. To control for the fact that Israel is under a lockdown order, they also compared data from the current lockdown versus a previous lockdown imposed on September 2020. 

In mid-January, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations started to decrease, with a larger and earlier decrease among older individuals. 

This trend was more evident in early-vaccinated compared to late-vaccinated cities. In 60+ year old Israelis (first to vaccinate) in the past three weeks the data were highly significant: ~41% less COVID-19 cases, ~31% fewer hospitalizations and ~24% fewer critically ill cases. This data suggests a real-world efficacy of up to 90% for prevention of illness by vaccination.

Changes in daily COVID Positive Tests in early and late vaccinated cities.

The reductions in infections and hospitalizations were much more dramatic that anything seen in prior lockdowns.

Changes in daily COVID hospitalizations in early and late vaccinated cities

It is truly remarkable that only six weeks after the start of the vaccination campaign there was such an impressive reduction in illness and hospitalizations. This is also likely the best data we will ever obtain since as more individuals get the vaccines there won’t be a “control group” of unvaccinated people for comparison.

Incidentally, for those who will want to dismiss this data as a harbinger of what is possible because of the threat from “variant” SARS-CoV-2 viruses, the worst data for any vaccine with the South African variant (with multiple significant mutations) is 50% protection in the Novavax trial; the other vaccines do better, and all provide full protection against the U.K. strain. Making a booster for the South African strain is actually simple, especially with the RNA vaccines; you simply change the RNA sequence!

Please everyone, stop arguing about the value of vaccination and let’s facilitate the vaccination of EVERYONE! We could be only months away from normal life!

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

11 thoughts on “Israel’s vaccine success is the best news of the pandemic!

  1. This is truly exciting and positive news!! Finally, after nearly a year of nay-sayers, the science and research are bearing out the facts that life can and will get better!! Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those Israelis are always showing off! 😉. This is great news and so glad to see these results. When do you think will we achieve 78% fully innoculated >60yo in the US? I want to go to our reunion in October without having to wear masks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Dr. Baker, Thank you for this great report from Israel. It gives us all hope!

    We are having a debate going on in my family as to whether those who have survived COVID should have one dose rather than two of the vaccine. Several reports have come out stating that only one “may” be necessary. My inclination is that once waiting the prescribed time after infection (90 days?) that former COVID patients — my brother, age 70; my son, age 52; and granddaughter, age 20; should get both doses. Can you please address this as I’m sure others are wondering as well.

    Thank you and bless you for continuing this wonderful and informative daily message. Kathleen Rogers

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  4. So got in a debate today related to the importance of mass vaccination, my argument was that the fewer immunized, the more likely a new mutation emerges that does not respond to the established protocol. The argument back to me was that all COVID/SARS mutations are/will be less lethal than the original, evolving into a ‘common cold’ type variant. Is that true? Doesn’t seem to be the outcome in the 1918 pandemic. . .

    jbakerjrblog posted: ” Israel has been the most aggressive country in the world in vaccinating their population. They paid a premium to obtain the Pfizer vaccine early on and used it initially for their elderly population, 60 years of age and older. The results are now just be”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m curious how long after the second shot are you considered “immune” to covid 19? I understand protection starts after the first but more curios about full protection. I can’t find this information on any google search. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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