Israeli study reveals how vaccines slow the spread

(Bloomberg) – Covid-19 infection and mortality rates in Israel – the country that has vaccinated the most people in the world – are declining roughly in line with the order in which different age groups were eligible to be vaccinated, according to a study showing the impact of the campaign.

While all Israelis faced national confinement and social distancing rules, the declines by age groups seen in the study suggest that vaccines are playing an important role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. About 55% of Israelis are vaccinated, giving them a unique position among researchers as governments globally look for signs that their vaccination campaigns are working.

In the United States, with about 25% of people fully immunized, early data suggests similar trends as states expand eligibility to get vaccinated to people as young as 16, meeting the Biden Administration deadline. As of April 17, there were an average of 67,442 new cases in the U.S., about a quarter of the 7-day high in January, according to federal data.

The Israeli breakdown shows “the real-life effectiveness of a national vaccination campaign,” concluded researchers led by Hagai Rossman of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Rehobot, Israel. “Although our findings are preliminary, they have important public health implications in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.”

Hospitalizations and severe covid cases in Israel also saw the largest decline among people over 60, the first group eligible to be vaccinated in the country, according to a study published Monday in the journal Natural Medicine. Then, declines were seen among those aged 50-59 who were immunized next, and finally in the younger age groups who were vaccinated later.

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Israel began administering the covid vaccines earlier this year, just as an increase in cases across the country prompted the government to decree a national lockdown.

In the US, the Biden Administration has assigned 28 million doses a week for two weeks in a row, enough to vaccinate 4 million Americans a day. But the administration of vaccines in the US has stalled at 3.2 million doses a day, after suspending use of J & J’s vaccines last week for safety reasons.

It is not yet clear whether the current trend represents a cap on the vaccination rate, or a brief hiatus in the rise of daily vaccinations like several that have occurred before. States in the U.S. have scheduled vaccinations for everyone over the age of 16, which could help drive up the rate. At the same time, there are signs of a build-up of vaccine surpluses in some parts of the country.

Original Note: Covid-Vaccinations Study Highlights How Shots Are Curbing Spread

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