‘It works’: Israel hails zero COVID deaths in major study after vaccine rollout

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
An Israeli study of 523,000 people who received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has found there were zero subsequent deaths, according to a report. (Getty Images)
An Israeli study of 523,000 people who received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has found there were zero subsequent deaths. (Getty Images)

An Israeli study of 523,000 people who received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has found there have been zero subsequent deaths, according to a report.

The study by Maccabi Healthcare Services, cited in The Times of Israel, also found only 544 vaccinated people went on to catch the virus, with just four severe cases.

The paper marked the news with a headline reading: “It works.”

And Dr Miri Mizrahi Reuveni was quoted as saying: “This data unequivocally proves that the vaccine is very effective and we have no doubt that it has saved the lives of many Israelis.”

A senior gets vaccinated against COVID-19 coronavirus at Maccabi Health Services in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, on December 21, 2020. - Israel has ordered 14 million doses of the vaccine -- covering seven million people, as two doses are required per person for optimal protection -- from Pfizer as well as US biotech firm Moderna. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
A vaccination at a Maccabi Health Services centre in December. A study of 523,000 people given two doses of the Pfizer vaccine showed there have been zero subsequent COVID deaths. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

The news is also welcome given the current lack of real-life evidence of vaccine efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infections and deaths, with health authorities previously only able to go by clinical trial results.

Israel is by far the world leader when it comes to the rate at which vaccines have been rolled out.

According to Oxford University’s respected Our World in Data website, Israel had administered 69.46 doses per 100,000 people as of Wednesday.

Israel's vaccine rollout rate compared to other countries is demonstrated by the chart, below.

(Our World in Data)
(Our World in Data)

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is one of two jabs currently being issued in the UK.

The other approved vaccine is the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, over which questions have been raised about its efficacy against the South African variant of the virus.

Watch: People aged 65 and over in England can now receive COVID vaccine

However, AstraZeneca has said it still provides a “good level of protection” against severe disease caused by new variants. It was also approved by the WHO for use in all adults on Wednesday.

On Friday, meanwhile, NHS England said people aged 65 to 69 can now have a COVID vaccine in England if GPs have done all they can to reach those at higher risk.

Read more:

‘It’s very risky’: Why the UK’s hotel quarantine could lead to local COVID outbreaks

'We reopened too fast': WHO warns European leaders against false sense of security

Some parts of England have already begun vaccinating the over-65s with their first dose after they reached everyone in the top four priority groups – including the over-70s and care home residents – who wanted a jab.

Once over-65s have been vaccinated, they will be officially followed by all those over 16 with underlying health conditions, then the over-60s, the over-55s and the over-50s.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown