Those infected with the COVID-19 virus after receiving even a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine present a much lower transmission risk than non-vaccinated individuals, according to new Israeli research.

This is because the vaccine appears to lower the viral load four-fold for infections occurring 12 to 28 days after a single dose is administered, according to a paper published online by a group supported by the Israel Science Foundation’s KillCorona-Curbing Coronavirus Research Program.

The paper, which is not yet peer-reviewed, was written by scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Maccabi Research Institute.

Its conclusions were based on positive post-vaccination data from Maccabi Healthcare Services, the second largest of Israel’s four national health maintenance organizations.

This follows another Israeli study indicating that people over 60 who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to transmit the virus to others. Data from two testing labs showed that vaccination reduces the viral load by 1.6 to 20 times in individuals positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Taken together, the two studies raise hopes that vaccination protects not only the vaccinee but also those around them.

This may hasten Israel’s reaching herd immunity, which happens when a sufficient percentage of a population has immunity to give indirect protection to those who aren’t immunized.

Herd immunity is an important question in Israel. Although the country has vaccinated more people per capita than any other country, some 30 percent of the population is under 16 and therefore cannot be vaccinated.

This article was first published by Israel21c.

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