On February 22, 2021, the United States crossed a staggering milestone: over 500,000 deaths caused byCOVID-19over the course of the last year. Globally, approximately 2.5 million individuals have died due toCOVID-19. We’ve passed the half million mark in America alone. These figures are shocking and sobering—and this fight is ongoing. However, recent news from Israel and the general success of vaccines in America should provide more than a semblance of hope in ending this crisis.
Generally, infection rates seem to have slowed throughout the country—at least for now (“Covid-19 Death Toll Hits 450,000 But Infections Slow”). Two extraordinarily effective vaccines are being distributed throughout the country (albeit, with logistical challenges). Athird vaccine, the single dose vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, is expected to receive FDA emergency use authorization soon (“Johnson & Johnson Announces Submission of Application to the U.S. FDA…”).
Again, the two vaccines already being distributed have proven to be extraordinarily effective in preventing vaccinated people from getting sick from the disease. Analysis of clinical trial data showed approximately 95% effectiveness at preventing disease (i.e. – even if you get the disease, your symptoms will likely range from mild to none). However, due to time constraints and limited data for the clinical trials, we still do not know if the vaccines also help curb actual transmission of COVID-19. It would be incredible news if we found that the vaccines helped prevent symptoms/sickness and stopped transmission. Are cent study from Israel has indicated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may do just that.
Israeli Study Indicates Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine is Effective in Stopping Transmission
A recent Israeli study “indicated Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for the coronavirus was 89.4 percent effective in stemming the spread of COVID-19.” (“Pfizer vaccine stops COVID-19 spread: Israeli study”).It should be stressed that this is only a preliminary report on the results of this study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. As such, the percentage and even the general findings are subject to change. In other words, we need more evidence. However, even skeptics of the study have stated that while the actual percentage will likely be lower than the reported 89%, “once we account for the bias, we’ll still find that this vaccine does reduce transmission. And that would be very good news.” (Zoe McLaren, quoted in Bloomberg Article: “Pfizer-BioNTech Shot Stops Covid Spread, Israeli Study Shows”).
We still need more data for understanding the degree to which the vaccines affect transmission. It’s promising news, but (as we’ve said in previous articles)it bears repeating: even if you get the vaccine, you still run the risk of asymptomatically spreading the disease to others. Therefore, everyone—even those who have received a vaccine—should continue maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing/sterilizing and taking whatever other precautions necessary in this ongoing fight.