New data from Israel, where health officials moved quickly to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE, suggests that the vaccination of adults also protects unvaccinated people living around them.
Roughly one third of Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) 1.95 million members – all above the age of 16 – had received at least a single vaccine dose by Jan. 30.
In analyzing outcomes in 223 communities, researchers found that as the number of vaccinated adults went up, infection rates among unvaccinated MHS members in the same community went down – particularly among children.
MHS is Israel’s second largest healthcare maintenance organization.
“While the observed vaccine-associated protection of unvaccinated is encouraging, further studies are required to understand whether and how it might support the prospect of herd immunity and disease eradication,” the researchers concluded in the study posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
Main Photo: A boy passes by a graffiti depicting resuscitation doctors in a COVID-19 ward at the fence of a Children’s Infectious Diseases Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV