JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We've heard all about studies on how effective coronavirus vaccines are against preventing severe disease, and a first-of-its kind study out of Israel looked at how effective the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is for those who are asymptomatic.
The study looked at people who got the Pfizer shot in Israel from January through March 6 of this year. It showed the vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infection.
“I got my second Pfizer shot March 17th," Elizabeth Gans said.
Elizabeth Gans has been spending the past year gardening, doing puzzles, spending time with her Maine Coon Toby, and looking forward to having a little more normalcy with her husband Jerry.
“Yes! My husband and I can go out. We can eat. We can start traveling. It’s a freedom we haven’t had for a year," Gans said.
Both Elizabeth and Jerry got their vaccines this month.
“I was so happy to read about the high percentage of how effective it is," Gans said.
Gans is happy to learn the study shows the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could help prevent her from asymptomatically spreading the disease to others.
“So if we know that these vaccines and this vaccine specifically is effective against asymptomatic infection, you can interpret that as it may lead to decreased asymptomatic transmission to others," said Dr. Mohammed Reza, an infectious disease specialist.
The study also showed the Pfizer vaccine is 97% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death.
“The U.K. variant was the predominant variant in Israel when this study was performed, so that’s important since that variant is going to become the predominant variant in the United States by the end of this month," Reza said.
Reza said even though the study is promising, you should still take safety precautions.
“It’s been a big political fight going back and forth with masks and that you don’t have to wear a mask if you’ve been vaccinated. No, that’s not true," Reza explained. "The important point is yes, if you’ve been vaccinated and you’re two weeks out, there is a low risk of you having a poor outcome, but we can’t say the same with the different variants that we’re seeing.”
Reza also says the UK variant was the predominant variant in Israel during the study, and that's significant because he predicts that variant will also be the predominant variant here in the United States.