Our epidemic intelligence team regularly publishes COVID Focus Reports on the global state of vaccination efforts. Here’s a sampling of what’s in the most recent report.
February 11, 2021
- As of February 10, Israel’s vaccine administration rate continues to lead all other countries, with more than 40% of its population having received at least one dose of either the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. The average vaccination rate in Israel is approximately 110,000 people per day.
- Between January 15 and February 6, 2021, Israel demonstrated a reduced number of daily new cases and hospitalizations among those who received vaccination.
- A four-fold decrease in viral load in specimens collected from vaccinated COVID-19 patients was identified 12 or more days after vaccination, corresponding to the expected onset of early vaccine protection. This suggests that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can potentially contribute to reduced transmissibility.
- However, Israel is now reporting a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases among children and adolescents.
Variants of concern
- Most studies available as of February 10, 2021, report no significant difference of vaccine effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant (initially detected in the U.K.) compared to the existing predominant strain. However, reduction in effectiveness was observed in Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine against the B.1.135 variant (initially detected in South Africa). Plans are underway to address the reduced effectiveness against the variants of concern.
- 20 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being studied in Phase 3 or Phase 2/3 trials. No new vaccine candidates have entered Phase 3 or Phase 2/3 trials since our previous report from January 27..
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January 27, 2021
- As of January 27, Israel’s vaccine administration rate continues to lead all other countries, with more than 31% of its population having received at least one dose of either the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. The average vaccination rate in Israel is approximately 110,000 people per day.
- Gibraltar, an overseas territory with a relatively small population of 33,000, also has 31% of its population initiating vaccines as of January 26. Gibraltar has been vaccinating its population since January 9 with Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine at a rate of approximately 585 people per day on average.
- Anaphylaxis remains one of the most frequently observed serious adverse reactions among those who have received Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. According to data collected from December 14 to 23, 2020, approximately 11.1 cases of anaphylaxis cases were reported per 1,000,000 doses administered.
- 23 deaths were reported among the elderly within a few days of receiving Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine in Norway. However, the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety subcommittee concluded the vaccine was not significant in contributing to these deaths and that vaccination remains favourable in the frail elderly.
- Small preprint studies suggest Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines are as effective in producing levels of antibodies against variant B.1.17 (initially detected in the U.K.) as against existing predominant strains.
- However, for Moderna’s vaccine, a six-fold reduction in levels of antibodies were observed with the B.1.351 variant (initially detected in South Africa) relative to the existing dominant strains. Moderna is planning to test a third booster dose of its vaccine to study the ability to increase the levels of antibodies its vaccine produces against emerging variants beyond the existing dominant SARS-CoV-2 strains.
- Moderna is also developing another emerging variant booster candidate (mRNA-1273.351) against the B.1.351 variant with plans to test it in a new Phase 1 clinical trial soon.
- 20 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being studied in Phase 3 or Phase 2/3 trials. No new vaccine candidates have entered Phase 3 or Phase 2/3 trials since our previous report.