Fauci Hails Israel's Vaccine Rollout as HMO Reports 95 Percent Effectiveness

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony FauciCredit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

Data released Wednesday by Israeli health maintenance organization Maccabi indicates that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective against the virus.

According to the data, out of 620,000 who received their second COVID vaccine, only 608 contracted the virus. Most of the fully vaccinated COVID patients, Maccabi said, suffered from light symptoms only, or were asymptomatic. Of the 608, 21 were hospitalized, and of those, seven had severe symptoms, three displayed moderate symptoms, and 11 had light symptoms.

Maccabi reported that so far more than a million of its members received the first shot of the vaccine, and over 720,000 are fully vaccinated. 

Also on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci highlighted the gaps in Israel and the United States' vaccine distributions, along with the subsequent data emerging from Israel, as proof of the need for the population to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"It is noteworthy that when you look at the amount of vaccinations, per 100 people, namely, how many vaccinations were given per 100 people, Israel is way up there with 78 doses per 100 people, compared to the United States, which is 16.7 doses per 100 people," Fauci said during a press briefing. 

A healthcare worker administering a COVID-19 vaccine at a Maccabi HMO center in Rishon Letzion. Credit: Hadas Parush

"So we have been hearing and seeing in the press that Israel has a remarkable diminution in cases associated with the efficiency of their vaccine. The reason I bring this out to you is that it is another example of the scientific data, starting to point to the fact that vaccine is important not only for the health of the individual to protect them against infection and disease, but it also has very important implications from a public health standpoint for interfering and diminishing the dynamics of the outbreak," he added. 

Fauci stressed that the bottom line message based on the Israeli data is that "when it is your turn to get vaccinated comes up, get vaccinated, it's not only good for you and your family and your community, it will have a very important impact on the dynamics of the outbreak in our country."

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