Israel reported a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness. The Ministry of Health stated it, as Reuters reported.
"Vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64% since June 6," the Health Ministry announced. At the same time, the vaccine was 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness from the coronavirus.
Pfizer's spokesperson declined to comment on the data from Israel but cited other research showing that antibodies elicited by the vaccine were still able to neutralize all tested variants, including Delta, albeit at reduced strength.
About 60% of Israel's 9.3 million population have received at least one shot of Pfizer's vaccine in a campaign that saw daily cases drop from more than 10,000 in January to single digits in June.
This spurred Israel to drop nearly all social distancing as well as the requirement to wear masks, though the latter was partially reimposed in recent days. At the same time Delta, which has become a globally dominant variant of the coronavirus, began to spread.
Since then daily cases have gradually risen, reaching 343 on Sunday. The number of seriously ill rose to 35 from 21.
As it was reported earlier, a man in Vinnytsya region died after vaccination with Pfizer, presumably from a cardiovascular failure due to coronary heart disease.