Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in a first "real world" study involving 1.2 million patients in Israel, information said Thursday.
The latest research, the first independently reviewed and in tandem with Germany's BioNTech, validates the power of mass vaccination campaigns as part of world efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
A real-world study includes prospective observational research designed to gather data on real-world patients. It can also draw on existing patient records, insurance databases and electronic medical registries.
Currently, most data on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines has come under regulated conditions in clinical tests, leaving some doubts over how results would translate into actual use with the treatments' unpredictable variables.
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday, also showed the vaccine's likely strong protective benefit against infection, an important element in preventing the virus from further spreading.
The results of the study, authorized by the Clalit Research Institute, were similar to recent scientific research which found two injections to have a 95% efficacy rate.
The inspiring news came as Ghana became the first nation to be given vaccines under the COVAX program, which sets the stage for poorer countries to catch up with the ongoing global vaccination campaigns.
The Israel study showed that two doses of the Pfizer shot reduced symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and serious illnesses by almost as much.
It also showed a single dose provided 57% protection against symptomatic infections after two weeks, data published and peer-evaluated in the NEJM Wednesday showed.
"The fact that the vaccines worked so well in the real world... really does suggest that if countries of the world can find the will, we now have the means to end COVID-19 forever," Agence France-Presse quoted Ben Neuman, a virologist from Texas A&M University, as saying.