A big real-world test of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine has shown that the jab is 94% effective. The results of the study, which involved about 12 lakh people in Israel, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

The results are very close to the vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trials last year, which found that two doses were 95% effective.

The study estimated the vaccine to be 57% effective against the infection two to three weeks after the first dose and 94% effective a week or longer after the second dose. It involved 6 lakh inoculated people and a similarly-sized control group of unvaccinated participants.

“This study in a nationwide mass vaccination setting suggests that the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is effective for a wide range of Covid-19–related outcomes, a finding consistent with that of the randomized trial,” the study led by researchers from the Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and Clalit Research Institute concluded.

The large-scale study also indicated that Pfizer’s vaccine worked against the United Kingdom coronavirus mutation. However, the researchers could not provide details about the level of efficacy. The research did not show how the vaccine will act against the South African variant.

Also read: Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine 95% effective in phase-3 study, says company

Harvard Medical School researcher Ben Reis, one of the authors of the paper, told AFP that the study was the first “peer-reviewed large scale evidence” of the effectiveness of a vaccine in the real world.

Senior study author Ran Balicer said researchers were surprised by the results, Reuters reported. “We were surprised because we expected that in the real-world setting, where cold chain is not maintained perfectly and the population is older and sicker, that you will not get as good results as you got in the controlled clinical trials,” he said. “But we did and the vaccine worked as well in the real world. We have shown the vaccine to be as effective in very different sub-groups, in the young and in the old in those with no co-morbidities and in those with few co-morbidities.”

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine prevents serious illness, says FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration said that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine offered strong protection against severe cases of the coronavirus, AP reported. The vaccine could become the third shot to be cleared in the country after Pfizer and Moderna.

Meanwhile, Moderna said that its vaccine candidate for the South African coronavirus variant was ready for testing, AFP reported. It has been sent to the US National Institutes of Health.

The coronavirus has infected 11.25 crore people across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 24 lakh people have died of the infection. The number of recoveries has gone up to 6.34 crore.