Yodit Ben Ari, 89, receives a fourth dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine following a vaccination party after Israel approved a second booster shot for the immunocompromised, people of over 60s and medical staff at a retirement home in Netanya, Israel January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM, March 27 (Reuters) – Elderly people who received a second booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination had a 78% lower mortality rate than those who received just one , an Israeli study showed on Sunday.

The country’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit Health Services, said the 40-day study included more than half a million people between the ages of 60 and 100.

Some 58% of participants had received a second booster – or two injections – in addition to the two-injection baseline regimen. The others had only received one reminder. The researchers recorded 92 deaths among the first group and 232 deaths among the second, smaller group.

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“The main finding is that the second booster saves lives,” said Ronen Arbel, health outcomes researcher at Clalit and Sapir College.

The report was published in preprint form and has not been peer reviewed. The research excluded people who received rival Moderna’s vaccine and those who had undergone oral anti-COVID therapy.

Israeli health officials have released a number of studies on vaccine effectiveness throughout the pandemic that have impacted policymaking in other countries.

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Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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