News, updates and real-time tracking of Israel's Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Get all the latest Pfizer vaccine news from The Jerusalem Post.
Israel has embarked on a mass coronavirus vaccination campaign largely centered on the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the company’s German technology partner.
Pfizer (traded as PFE on the New York stock exchange) was founded 170 years ago and is one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. According to its website, Pfizer’s global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines, as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products.
The company’s CEO is Albert Bourla, who was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is of Sephardic Jewish descent. His parents survived the Holo
Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine received approval for emergency use by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - known as Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) - in December 2020. The world’s first approved messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, it is administered in two doses of 30 micrograms given 21 days apart.
A Phase III clinical trial found that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed coronavirus with minimal side effects.
Pfizer side effects usually start within a day or two of receiving the shot and can last for equally as long. Most people simply experience slight pain at the sight of injection, but others can experience some flu-like symptoms that could even affect their ability to carry out normal daily activities.
Pfizer’s vaccine is based on messenger RNA (mRNA) - the first-ever vaccine of this type brought to market for human recipients.
These vaccines use a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected, enters the cells and sparks production of the viral components that subsequently train the immune system to fight the virus.
When Moderna, another coronavirus mRNA vaccine that is now approved and that works very similar to the Pfizer vaccine, was just finishing its Phase I trial, The Independent wrote about the vaccine and described it this way: “It uses a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected into your body, must invade your cells and hijack your cells’ protein-making machinery called ribosomes to produce the viral components that subsequently train your immune system to fight the virus.”
The Pfizer vaccine is asking people’s bodies to do something they do every day: protein synthesis, the process where cells make proteins. The vaccine is simply delivering a specific mRNA sequence to our cells. Once the mRNA is in the cell, human biology takes over. Ribosomes read the code and build the protein, and the cells express the protein in the body.
Pfizer has agreements for millions of vaccines with several countries across the world, ranging from the European Union and the United States to Japan, Canada, Australia and, of course, Israel.
Israel originally ordered eight million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough to vaccinate four million people. However, in a deal worked out between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the company, Israel will receive enough doses to vaccinate any Israeli who wants to get the jab. Israel has around six million citizens over the age of 16 who are eligible to be vaccinated.
Although due to confidentiality agreements, Israel did not disclose exactly how much it would pay for the Pfizer vaccine, media reports indicated that the country was paying top dollar.
According to Israel’s Channel 13, Israel agreed to pay $56 per person ($28 for each dose), as opposed to the $39 the US is paying. The European Union reportedly is paying even less.
The Pfizer dose is 30 micrograms of vaccine. Moderna has a much larger dose: 100 micrograms.
There is a 21-day waiting period between the first and second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine has a 28-day waiting period.
While the world has begun inoculating itself with these completely new and revolutionary vaccines, virtually nothing is known about their long-term effects. However, most medical professionals believe there is no cause for concern.
Michal Linial, a professor of biological chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post that “mRNA is a very fragile molecule, meaning it can be destroyed very easily... If you put mRNA on the table, for example, in a minute there will not be any mRNA leftover. This is as opposed to DNA, which is as stable as you get.”
She said that this fragility is true of the mRNA of any living thing, whether it belongs to a plant, bacteria, virus or human. As such, she said the worry should not be that the mRNA won’t get into the cells and instead will stay outside, floating in the body and causing some kind of reaction. Rather the concern should be that if it doesn’t enter the cells, it will disintegrate and therefore be ineffective.
Despite statements of allowing Israelis with green passports to travel, neither Greece or Cyprus recognize Israel's green passports.
According to the report, no adverse effects were discovered among the babies, leading researchers to believe that the babies may be protected from COVID-19 through breast milk antibodies.
Bourla said in December that he has not yet received the vaccine yet because he does not want to "cut in line."
Serious symptoms of the vaccine include blurred vision, inflammation of the pulmonary pleura, inflammation of the heart, heart attack, or even liver damage.
Bourla was set to land in Israel on Monday for a series of meetings, only 15 days before Israel's next election, which prompted many to criticize the visit as election propaganda.
"It may be a coincidental case, but there is a need to gather more information and make an assessment in upcoming working groups."
"Whoever does not get vaccinated will be left behind."
Bourla further noted that studies on the risk of the vaccine are also underway on pregnant women and younger children.
In the first stage of the first arm of the study, a third 30 microgram dose will be given to as many as 144 people who received the vaccine 6 to 12 months ago in the original Phase I safety trial.
In December, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine and current label to be stored at temperatures between -80ºC and -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF).
Purim begins Thursday at sundown. The curfew will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Pfizer is on track to deliver 120 million doses of its two-dose regimen by the end of March, said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer.
According to a senior health fund official, the Pfizer deal was for 10 million vaccines - enough to inoculate 5 million people.
On Sunday, 500,000 more children return to school • Malls, gyms open up as infection declines
The decision came after a meeting between Health Ministry officials on both sides.
If approved, the less onerous storage requirements would provide a big logistical relief because the vaccine for now has to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius for longer periods.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19, and many public health officials have recommended some women in high-risk professions take coronavirus vaccines.
The company is proposing to do a Phase I clinical trial of a booster shot of that prototype vaccine that it would test against a booster for the current vaccine.
It is not clear if the shot will be effective against the mutation, the companies said on Wednesday.
“I am negotiating with them to build two plants in Israel that will turn Israel into an international center in the fight against coronavirus."
Data showed 94% fewer symptomatic coronavirus cases and 92% fewer cases of serious illness among those vaccinated.
Bourla's parents were of 2,000 survivors from a community of 50,000 nearly eradicated by the Holocaust in Thessaloniki, Greece where he was born.
Maccabi: Data proves unequivocally that the vaccine is very effective.
The number of serious patients is also on the decline, especially among people 60 and older.
Nearly 3.7 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Deputy A-G says legislation needed to require teachers to take vaccines.
In total, 43 people were hospitalized after receiving their first dose and only five after receiving their second dose.
They received their final doses of the Pfizer vaccine by January 25.
The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) released data on the demographics of all those who were vaccinated in January, and had information regularly available on them.
That lockdown came as Britain started rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine. Over 10 million people have received a first dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer's shot.
"Pfizer will continue to engage with the authority and re-submit its approval request with additional information as it becomes available in the near future."
HEALTH AFFAIRS: Vaccination doesn’t equal liberation
According to a Maccabi Healthcare study, immunity appears to further strengthen even after seven days from the second injection.
The trial will examine the immune responses of an initial dose of Pfizer vaccine followed by a booster of AstraZeneca's, as well as vice versa, with intervals of 4 and 12 weeks.
"Our work suggests the vaccine is likely to be less effective when dealing with this mutation."
Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash: “We still recommend using masks and social distancing.”
It has still not been confirmed with certainty that the inflammation was developed as a side-effect to the vaccination
The Palestinians are also hoping to receive thousands of vaccines from China soon.
Israel has included pregnant women among those getting priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.
"I am especially proud to receive this honor from Bar Ilan University, as the university represents for me the perfect combination [of scientific excellence with deep morals]."
Maccabi health fund releases preliminary results of a study comparing vaccinated and not vaccinated members’ likability to contract the disease and said vaccine 92% effective.
The Health Ministry said that 40% of new coronavirus cases are in youth under the age of 18.
These findings don't indicate the need for a new vaccine.
Regarding pregnant women's reactions to coronavirus vaccines in general, no research was published so far, that it be for Moderna or Pfizer's vaccines.
The preliminary results shared by Maccabi showed that only 20 people out of some 128,600 who received both shots have since been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
The CEO & Chairman of the company responsible for the distribution of the first coronavirus vaccine will discuss his life and Greek Jewish Heritage on February 18th via zoom.
Some 200,000 people were inoculated on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Some Israeli health funds to vaccinate people 35-years-young * 2,8 million Israelis already got at least the first
The latest study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, was conducted on 10 mutations, which are characteristic of the variant known as B117 identified in Britain.
Two health funds start to open appointments for the vaccines to 35 year-olds.
It is unclear whether the government will follow or ignore recommendations from the Helsinki Committee.
No state has purchased vaccines directly from the producer. Cuomo's letter did not state how many doses he was seeking or how he would pay for it.
Grotto: No problem sharing information with Pfizer
Results showed that antibodies were higher than those who suffered severe cases of the virus.
In the past month, Israel has established itself as a vaccination powerhouse.
Bourla, born to a Jewish family - part of whom were Holocaust survivors - in Thessaloniki in 1961, joined Pfizer in 1993.
This is not the first time that Maccabi staff administered an overdose of vaccination.
If media reports are accurate, it appears that Israel is trading something far more precious than money in exchange for the inoculations: the privacy of each and every one of us.
Hebrew University: Country to see significant increase in number of hospitalized patients in coming days
Health Ministry: People 50-54 can now get the jab
Per person, this comes out to about $47 to get vaccinated.
The irony of the timing in which the majority of Israelis will be vaccinated cannot be ignored.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein received their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus.
Pfizer has said it can produce globally up to 1.3 billion doses this year.
The mutation could be responsible for greater transmissibility and there had been concern it could also make the virus escape antibody neutralization elicited by the vaccine.
While the outgoing deputy director-general of the Health Ministry suggested limiting coronavirus vaccines to one dose per person, other experts were not sold on the idea.
Shots are reaching nursing home residents at an even slower pace than others first in line, even though they are most at risk of dying of the virus.
More than 126,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Mexico.
An open letter signed by more than 70 medical doctors sought to quash conspiracy theories circulating that the vaccine contains products that are non-kosher.
Pfizer and BioNTech's messenger RNA vaccine was 95% effective at preventing disease symptoms after two doses 21 days apart.
Israel leads the world in its rate of vaccination so far, with 7.44% of the population already vaccinated.
He went to a drive-up hospital testing site and tested positive for COVID-19 the day after Christmas, the report said.
Dubai, which in 2019 had a population of over 3.3 million, has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, which hurt its key tourism, real estate and trade sectors.
The man told the medical staff present he has had allergic reactions to penicillin, but doesn’t have any other illness.
Pfizer and Moderna did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
European Union countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from Dec. 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States.
Doses of vaccine must travel with security guards, including US Marshals, and will be stored in locked refrigerators.
Other countries have already approved it for emergency use to help curb the global coronavirus pandemic.
Marks said that a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG) "could be the culprit" causing the adverse reactions.
“It’s pretty unusual to have a full extra dose or more though — but it does seem to be there!”
The adverse reaction in the person, minutes after taking the Pfizer shot on Tuesday, was similar to two cases in Britain.