Evidence of the vaccine working is coming out of Israel: Israeli vaccination campaign leads to plunge in severe COVID-19 cases

A mass vaccination campaign in Israel that targeted older residents led to a steep drop-off in the number of coronavirus cases requiring patients to go on a ventilator, a hopeful sign as other nations ramp up vaccine access and distribution.

new report published Friday in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found the number of older patients in Israel requiring ventilation to treat COVID-19 plummeted beginning in the middle of January.

Before the vaccination campaign started, about six times as many patients over the age of 70 required ventilation to assist breathing as those under the age of 50. By the middle of February, when more than 8 in 10 older Israelis had been vaccinated, that ratio dropped to just a 2 to 1 margin.

The drop in the number of older patients who required ventilation began in mid-January, about the time the first people to receive a vaccine in Israel began getting their second doses.

“Considering the vaccination rate and the expected vaccine efficacy, this study provides preliminary evidence at the population level for the reduction in risk for severe COVID-19 as manifested by need for mechanical ventilation, after vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine,” CDC researchers wrote.