Israel Finds Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Effective Across All Age Groups

February 26, 2021

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed the same effectiveness for all age groups — including individuals over age 60 — confirmed a new study from Israel that included almost 1.2 million individuals.

The vaccine gave 94 percent protection against symptomatic COVID-19 infection after a second shot, said researchers from Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and Harvard University, who published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The 94 percent effectiveness is close to the 95 percent efficacy reported from Pfizer’s global phase 3 study of 43,000 participants (DID, Nov. 19, 2020), but it provides critical real-world data, especially on older patients.

“Although randomized clinical trials are considered the ‘gold standard’ for evaluating intervention effects, they have notable limitations of sample size and subgroup analysis, restrictive inclusion criteria and a highly controlled setting that may not be replicated in a mass vaccine rollout,” the researchers said.

Also this week, a separate real-world study from Israel found that a single dose of the Pifzer/BioNTech vaccine was highly effective ― demonstrating a 75 percent reduction in COVID-19 infection for 7,214 vaccinated healthcare workers 15 to 28 days after receiving the shot, with effectiveness climbing to 85 percent for reducing symptomatic infection (DID, Feb. 22).

Read the NEJM study here: bit.ly/2ZR20QI. — Jason Scott