COVID-19 vaccine could reduce mortality rate by 70% - Weizmann professor

Professor Eran Segal emphasized that even if Israel can't acquire vaccines for the entire population, distributing it to a select group would significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths.

A medic of the regional hospital receives Russia's "Sputnik V" vaccine shot against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tver, Russia October 12, 2020.  (photo credit: REUTERS/TATYANA MAKEYEVA/FILE PHOTO)
A medic of the regional hospital receives Russia's "Sputnik V" vaccine shot against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tver, Russia October 12, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/TATYANA MAKEYEVA/FILE PHOTO)
The first round of coronavirus vaccines could reduce the current mortality rate by 70%, Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biology professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, tweeted on Saturday.
"Until the entire population can get immunized," he explained, "we need to remember that even hundreds of thousands of vaccines will significantly lower the damages [caused by coronavirus], and it would be worth it to pay a steep price for them."
Last week, Pfizer published interim analysis of their vaccine, which projected it to be 90% effective. "If that's true," Segal argues, "mortality rates will drop 62%. Even a vaccine that is only 70% effective will reduce mortality rates by 48%."
He supplied some more data. With half-a-million 70% efficacy vaccines, mortality rates will drop 50%, and with half-a-million 90% efficacy vaccines, mortality rates will drop 65%
He wrote that, assuming Israel will distribute the vaccine to health care workers first – which should take up 100,000 vaccines, the distribution would work in age groups, i.e. oldest to youngest.  
Based on his research, he suggested a different direction in policy. For vaccine distribution, he claimed it would be "smartest to identify" a crossing of two groups, "those who are high risk, who also work in the public sector, and come into contact with many people, like service members, bus drivers, cashiers, etc."
It is as yet unclear how effective a vaccine will be for the older population as it is not explored in vaccine trials. There could be a decrease in effectiveness because of their weaker immune system.
Additionally, not only will mortality rates drop, but so will coronavirus cases admitted to hospital, lessening the load on the public healthcare system.
Segal's full study can be found here.