Israel covid study shows some reason for caution, some reason for optimism
Vaccine only 39% effective in preventing infection
I believe the main question that markets continue to ask regarding covid is this: Does the vaccine work? So long as the answer is 'yes', the risk trades can continue to move higher. A study today is raising some troubling questions.
Israel's health ministry today is reporting that Pfizer's covid vaccine is far less effective at preventing infection and symptomatic illness with the Delta variant than with previous strains.
They reported that it was just 39% effective at preventing infections, down from 64% in estimates two weeks ago.
These numbers are vastly different from New England Journal of Medicine also published this week, which shows it's 88% effective against the delta variant.
The good news is that both studies show high protection against severe illness. The Israeli study pegged it as 92% effective against hospitalization and 91% against severe illness. Ultimately, that's the main question regarding vaccines, though long covid and other complications don't necessarily indicate hospitalization.
One takeaway here is that efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine may deteriorate quickly. Israelis were among the first in the world to be vaccinated. There are also question about the Israeli methodology.