Studies have revealed that the Pfizer vaccine is 95.8 per cent effective in preventing illness with coronavirus, according to Israel’s health ministry.

The latest findings, based on data collected from around 1.7 million Israelis who received both shots of the Pfizer vaccine by 30 January, also show the vaccine was 98% effective in preventing respiratory problems or fever and 98.9% effective in preventing hospitalisations and death.

It comes only days after a vaccine efficacy study in Israel revealed that the Pfizer vaccine is up to 85% effective after the first dose.

The Herald: Covid pandemic impact on Scottish NHS operations may take years to correct

With the highest vaccination rate in the world, Israel has begun to ease lockdown restrictions - with shops, libraries and museums reopening.

The country has been in its third lockdown since December 27, after a resurgence of the virus.

More than 49% of people in Israel have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects 95% of people aged 50 and over to have received the vaccine in the next two weeks.

The Health Ministry has introduced a "green badge" system for those vaccinated, so that they can enjoy more freedoms and gain access to places such as restaurants, gyms, and cultural or sports events.

The Herald:

Meanwhile in Scotland, a further 803 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed yesterday while 29 deaths were recorded.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 6,945.

The test positivity rate stood at 4.6% and 102 people were in hospital with recently-confirmed Covid-19.

A total of 1,412,643 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, an increase of 26,491 from the previous day.