Israel sharing COVID-19 data with Pfizer to help fine-tune vaccine rollout

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is giving weekly data updates on its COVID-19 outbreak to vaccine maker Pfizer under a collaboration agreement that may help other countries fine-tune their inoculation campaigns and achieve 'herd immunity', officials said. Israelis began receiving first shots of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Dec. 19 in one of the world's fastest vaccination rollouts.

Reuters January 19, 2021 00:10:32 IST
Israel sharing COVID-19 data with Pfizer to help fine-tune vaccine rollout

Israel sharing COVID19 data with Pfizer to help finetune vaccine rollout

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is giving weekly data updates on its COVID-19 outbreak to vaccine maker Pfizer under a collaboration agreement that may help other countries fine-tune their inoculation campaigns and achieve "herd immunity", officials said.

Israelis began receiving first shots of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Dec. 19 in one of the world's fastest vaccination rollouts.

Israel's Health Ministry made public most of a 20-page collaboration agreement it signed with Pfizer, which said the aim was "to determine whether herd immunity is achieved after reaching a certain percentage of vaccination coverage in Israel".

Commercial details such as price and quantity of vaccine shots supplied were not made public, but the agreement said that Israel was relying on Pfizer to deliver enough doses at a fast enough rate to allow it to achieve "herd immunity", meaning a sufficient portion of the population is immune to the virus.

"While this project is conducted in Israel, the insights gained will be applicable around the world and we anticipate will allow governments to maximize the public health impact of their vaccination campaigns," BioNTech said on Monday in a statement.

This includes determining potential immunization rates needed to stop the virus from spreading, it said.

The goal, BioNTech said, was "to monitor the evolution of the epidemic over time and at different vaccination rates".

"This will help us understand whether a potential decrease in cases and deaths can be attributed solely to direct vaccine protection or to both direct and indirect (or 'herd') protection," it said.

Asked whether Pfizer was offering anything in return for the Israeli health data, a Pfizer spokeswoman in Israel said: "Pfizer does not offer anything in return. The agreement is public so you can read it. Besides that, we do not have any other comments."

During weekly status reports, Israel will provide Pfizer with epidemiological data such as: the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, how many patients were on ventilators, how many died, as well as an age and other demographic breakdown.

Such data was available to the public and keeps patients anonymous, Israeli officials said.

About a quarter of Israelis have received their first vaccine shot and 3.5% already got their second dose.

Still, the country is in its third lockdown with infection rates remaining high. More than half a million cases have been reported and 4,005 people have died in Israel since the pandemic began.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Steven Scheer, Ludwig Burger and Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Alex Richardson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.