Israel’s coronavirus czar said a single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine might be less effective than the drugmaker indicated.
Nachman Ash, considered the Israeli “Dr. Anthony Fauci,” told Army Radio, protection offered by the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was “less effective than we had thought.”
“Many people have been infected between the first and second injections of the vaccine,” Ash said, per the New York Post.
Pfizer has said trials showed the vaccine was roughly 52% effective around 12 days after receiving the first shot, the BBC reported. That level of protection rises to 95% about two weeks after the second dose.
Ash said the protective effect appeared “lower than [the data] presented by Pfizer.”
More than 2 million Israelis had received the first dose of the vaccine.
During a talk among Health Ministry officials Tuesday, Ash also said it was not certain the vaccine can protect against mutated variants of the coronavirus, per The Times of Israel.
Israeli health officials raised new questions about the vaccine Monday when 10,000 new cases were announced. That is the highest daily number since the pandemic began.
Previously, experts have warned one dose of the vaccine does not provide full immunity. They added mask wearing and social distancing still need to be implemented to get the pandemic under control.
Israel Hayom reported Tuesday there were 81,250 COVID-19 patients in Israel, with 1,924 hospitalized, and 356 in critical condition. The Israeli death toll stood at 4,060.
Israel ranked first in the world in the number of people vaccinated, according to a report by the nation’s Intelligence Division, but the country also led in the number of daily new cases in relation to its population.
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