Israel says Pfizer vaccine just 64% effective in real world as delta variant continues to spread rapidly
Last Updated: July 6, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. ETFirst Published: July 6, 2021 at 10:49 a.m. ET
By Ciara Linnane
Russia and Indonesia set new one-day record death tolls and Indonesia sources oxygen from Singapore
A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is administered Monday in Tel Aviv.
JACK GUEZ/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed above 184 million on Tuesday, as the highly transmissible delta variant continued to race across the world and the Israeli health ministry said it believes delta has weakened the overall effectiveness of its vaccine program.
Israel was an early success in the rush to vaccinate its residents but has fully vaccinated just 57% so far, according to Johns Hopkins University, and has primarily used the vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. That vaccine uses mRNA technology, which is also used in the Moderna vaccine, both of which are authorized in the U.S.
The Israeli health ministry said it now believes the vaccine is just 64% effective at preventing symptomatic infections, which compares with the efficacy rate of about 95% in clinical trials back in 2020, it said in a statement posted on Twitter. The vaccine remains roughly 93% effective at preventing hospitalizations and death, the ministry said. Experts have repeatedly warned of the need to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population to prevent new variants emerging that may prove resistant to the existing vaccines.
The news comes as Indonesia and Russia record daily death tolls, with Russian authorities reporting 737 more fatalities and a steep rise in new infections. Indonesia is sourcing oxygen from Singapore and calling on other countries to help as it counted a record 728 deaths in a single day, as AFP reported.
The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, is hospitalized with COVID symptoms, after testing positive and showing low oxygen levels in his blood, the Guardian reported. “The prime minister’s current medical condition is considered serious, but stable,” the government said in a statement.
President Joe Biden is expected to speak later Tuesday on his administration’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with the remarks coming after his administration fell short of his goal of having 70% of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July.
Biden is due to speak at 2:45 p.m. Eastern in Washington about “the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program,” the White House said in a statement.
On Sunday, the president mixed a White House Independence Day party for military families and essential workers with a celebration of freedom from the worst of the pandemic, as he described getting vaccinated as “the most patriotic thing you can do.”