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Pfizer vaccine’s first dose less effective than originally thought, says Israel’s virus czar

Israel’s version of Dr. Fauci recently said the first Pfizer vaccine dose is less effective than originally thought

A member of staff prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the public at Hyde Leisure Centre near Manchester, England, Friday Jan. 8, 2021.
A member of staff prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the public at Hyde Leisure Centre near Manchester, England, Friday Jan. 8, 2021.
Jon Super, Associated Press

Israel’s coronavirus czar said in a recent interview with Army Radio that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine offers less protection than previously thought.

  • “Many people have been infected between the first and second injections of the vaccine,” Nachman Ash told Army Radio.

Ash — who is considered to be Israel’s version of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. — said the first dose is “less effective than we thought” and “lower than (the data) presented by Pfizer.”

Some context

More than 2.1 million people have received the first dose in Israel so far. Close to 423,000 people have received the second dose, according to Army Radio. Israel has been considered one of the best places so far for distribution.

Utah doctors agree

University of Utah Health Division of Infectious Diseases associate professor Dr. Emily Spivak told the Deseret News Tuesday that people can get infected after the first vaccine dose and may spread it after the second dose.

  • “The whole point of the second dose is to boost the sort of the amount of antibody and the amount of immunity that you have and hopefully the length. We just don’t even know how long the protection is after two doses,” Spivak said.

She said plenty of people were infected after their first dose.

  • “Whether that was because they let their guard down, hard to know. But I would definitely really caution people between the first and second dose, to really presume that you have no protection, probably. You want to be careful even after the second dose until we can get the whole population vaccinated,” she said.