Israeli Health Official: Pfizer Vaccine Makes More Antibodies Than Infection

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines arrive at a Clalit COVID-19 vaccination center in Yerushalayim, on Jan. 4. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccination causes more antibodies to be created than in people who were infected with the novel coronavirus and recovered, an Israeli Health Ministry official said during a meeting of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday.

“Regarding the vaccine, there is a surprising thing here that in the data we saw during the approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, the level of antibodies it produces is higher than for those who became ill naturally. I do not know if there is another such disease in which the vaccine will protect better than infection with the disease itself,” said Dr. Roy Singer, Deputy Director of the Department of Epidemiology at the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, as part of the deal Israel has made with Pfizer, it has committed to provide the company with a large amount of data on its coronavirus vaccination campaign but not information that would identify individual recipients of Pfizer’s vaccine, according to the contract the government signed with the pharmaceutical company and which the Health Ministry made public on Sunday.

In disclosing the agreement, the ministry obscured portions of the contract relating to commercial information such as the amounts to be paid to Pfizer. The move to make the contract public is intended to increase transparency and remove any concern that Pfizer would obtain personal medical information about Israelis who have been vaccinated.

Israel has vaccinated a greater proportion of its population than any other country and most of the vaccine used has come from Pfizer.

According to the agreement, the information given to Pfizer is in line with what senior Health Ministry officials have stated and includes general and not personal information. Israel agreed to provide weekly information on the number of patients infected and hospitalized, the number of serious cases, the number on ventilators and the number of deaths, as well as information on the vaccination campaign. The pharmaceutical company is also receiving data on recipients of the vaccine by age, gender and demographic background.

In the event that information is accidentally provided that makes a patient’s identity identifiable, the contract requires Pfizer to treat it as confidential and return it. The contract also bars the U.S. pharmaceutical firm from attempting to obtain information on patients’ identities from the data it receives.

Officials at Israel’s health maintenance organizations have given their own assurances that neither Pfizer nor any outside party has access to the HMOs databases. Prior to the signing of the agreement with Pfizer, the data on vaccination of Israelis was fed into a separate national database with information beyond what the HMOs have.