The Health Ministry has for the first time released a breakdown of COVID-19 deaths based on the deceased individuals’ level of vaccination, showing that in February, 84 percent of patients who died had not been vaccinated at all or had received just the first of the two required shots.
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Since the beginning of the country’s vaccination drive, 4.8 million people, 51.7 percent of the population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In total, 3.49 million, 37.5 percent, have received the full two doses.
The most comprehensive study of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which is the main one being used in Israel, found last month that the vaccine prevents 94 percent of cases of symptomatic illness and 92 percent of serious illness on average.
The phase III study, based on medical data from 1.2 million patients belonging to Israel’s Clalit Health Services health maintenance organization, found that vaccinated people are 86 to 98 percent less likely to become seriously ill beginning from a week after the second dose. But the study also found that the vaccine has an effect two weeks after the first dose, preventing 57 percent of cases of symptomatic infection and producing a 62 percent decline in the number of seriously ill patients.
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On Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition dropped to a 10-week low, according to Health Ministry data, continuing a downward trend from record highs in mid-to-late January and early February that saw hospitals overwhelmed with cases.