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Initial data from Israel unclear on preventing infections

Data from Israel's vaccination campaign only shows the vaccine against COVID-19 prevents serious illness so far.

New data from Israel’s speedy vaccination campaign against COVID-19 offers information on the vaccine’s effectiveness.

The American-German Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective in preventing serious illness resulting from the coronavirus, according to initial data. It is unclear whether the vaccine affects transmission of the virus, however, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday, citing Israeli health experts.

Israel is currently leading the world in administering vaccines against COVID-19 on a per capita basis. The state has administered 58.83 vaccine doses per 100 people, according to Our World in Data. Vaccines against the coronavirus typically require two doses to be fully effective.

The report on the vaccine’s effectiveness shows that countries in the region may not immediately slow infection rates with the vaccine. Israel is currently experiencing a major coronavirus outbreak in spite of its vaccine rollout success.

It is possible further data will show the vaccine can indeed prevent infections. An Israeli health care source told Agence France-Presse that initial findings show a significant but not complete reduction in infections two weeks after the first dose is given. Israel also only tests people who have symptoms, meaning their infection rates do not include asymptomatic people who may be shedding the virus, according to the outlet.

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