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Vaccines: In Israel, fear of reduced efficacy against the delta variant

Vaccines: In Israel, fear of reduced efficacy against the delta variant

An expert estimated Monday that a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Israel, where more than half the population is fully vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech, raises concerns that the vaccine’s efficacy will decrease in “moderate” delta-type cases.

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While the epidemiological situation in Israel is closely monitored internationally due to the speed of the vaccination campaign, Ran Palisser, head of the National Expert Committee, called for caution, saying that it was “too early to accurately assess this efficacy.”

However, the Ministry of Health said, on Monday, that it had noticed a decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine with regard to infection and the development of symptoms, estimated at 64%.

The statement stated that the decrease was observed since June 6 with the spread of the delta type in Israel, without going into further details.

The ministry continues, “The effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing severe cases of the coronavirus is 93%.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday asked the Health Ministry to conduct two medical studies that “provide key information for decision-making about vaccines,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

More than five of the 9.3 million Israelis (55% of the population) have received two doses, mostly from the US laboratory Pfizer, which has encouraged a decline in the number of cases and the lifting of restrictions.

As of June 21, Israel had recorded more than 100 new cases per day, after recording only a few per day for weeks. On Sunday, 343 new patients were identified.

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According to official figures, about half of the new cases are among children and the other half are among adults, most of whom have been vaccinated.

This rebound is clearly attributable to the highly contagious Delta variant, which has become the “main strain” of the virus in Israel, said Ran Palisser, director of innovations at Clalit, leading to a “significant change in transmission dynamics.” AFP. , the main Israeli health insurance company.

“There is an initial sign of a lower efficacy of the vaccine against moderate cases” associated with this variant, compared to the alpha formula, he added. “But it is too early and it is difficult to quantify.”

Experts still hope the vaccine will be as effective against the delta variant as it is against the alpha strain, which was first discovered in the UK, when it comes to severe cases of the disease, Palisser said.

In Israel, only 35 people are currently in a serious condition, according to the latest official figures.

But, according to the expert, this number has increased in recent days by five hours every 48 hours, compared to one previously.

Bennett warned Sunday that the Jewish state may reimpose restrictions after recommitting to wearing masks in public places and closed businesses at the end of June.he is August opened the country to fortified tourists.

In total, more than 843,390 cases have been identified, including 6,429 deaths.

Israel launched a massive vaccination campaign at the end of December under an agreement with Pfizer that provided millions of doses in exchange for data on the effects of vaccination.

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