The head of the Israeli Ministry of Health said that vaccines produced by Pfizer and BioNTech are 98.8% effective in preventing deaths or hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.
The Times of Israel reported that Chezy Levy, the director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Health, said in a statement that data collected by his agency also found that the vaccine was 99.2% effective in preventing severe cases of the disease. The newspaper analyzed that the data analyzed by the agency only included patients who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine.
Levi said: “Vaccines have greatly reduced serious illness and death,” Levi said.
“Because Israel’s strong medical system allows us to vaccinate an unprecedented population, and with the help of our epidemiological tracking facility, we are the first country in the world that can prove the effectiveness of the vaccine in actual clinical practice.”
The Minister of Health added in a statement on Saturday that Israel will continue to seek to vaccinate all adults over the age of 16 with the virus before providing the country’s young people with the vaccine.
Israel has won praise for the rapid development of its program, which has so far resulted in about one-third of the country’s population being vaccinated. However, the government is also facing criticism for providing the vaccine in Palestinian-controlled territories, including the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has called on Israeli officials to increase the number of vaccines provided to millions of Palestinians living in these areas.
The head of Gaza’s Ministry of Health said last week that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines had begun to arrive in the territory, but emphasized that the 2,000 vaccines provided were far from enough to vaccinate medical staff in the region.