The launch of Israel’s Covid-19 vaccine booster is of reference to the world

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Israel has always been at the forefront of vaccinating adults and adolescents. It has taken the lead in launching a vaccine passport and has taken the lead in using booster injections in recent months.

At the end of July, the country began to provide boosters for people over 60 years old; since late August, anyone over 16 years old can use the booster five months after the second vaccination.

Now, a person will not be considered fully vaccinated in Israel until they are eligible for the third dose of vaccine.

More than three months have passed, and Israeli health officials said the data is clear: intensified injections helped contain the fourth wave of viruses that swept the country in August and September.

During the peak period, there were more than 8,000 new Covid-19 cases every day, and more than 500 people were hospitalized at a time with serious illnesses.

The current 7-day average is 450 to 500 cases per day, and 129 people are hospitalized because of the virus and are in serious conditions.

The data highlights a clear difference between vaccinated and booster vaccinated and non-vaccinated: According to data from the Ministry of Health, more than 75% of positive cases were not vaccinated for many days in the past month.

The situation is even more pronounced among people hospitalized due to Covid-19: Israeli officials stated in October that people over 60 years of age who received only two doses of the vaccine had five times the rate of those who received three doses.

Although the number of cases has declined overall since then, the difference still exists: on Sunday, compared with people who are considered to be fully vaccinated with three doses, on Sunday, the number of people over 60 who are seriously ill who received only two vaccinations on Sunday is the fourth largest. Times. To the Ministry of Health.

Lessons from Israel

On August 2, elderly residents waited for the third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a medical center in Tel Aviv.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cited these data as the reason he believes he will soon advise everyone to get boosters if they qualify.

Fauci told NBC last week: “If you look closely at the Israeli data, it’s clear that the difference in immunity decline among the elderly is much greater, but it is comprehensive.”

Israel’s lessons are lessons that more and more countries are learning, especially as cases in parts of Europe rise to disturbing levels.

Germany recommends that everyone over the age of 18 get a third dose of the vaccine, while in the UK, as of this week, everyone over the age of 40 can get a booster dose.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced that a third dose will be required to re-verify the “health pass” or health pass, which is necessary for public transportation and access to various public and private spaces. There is a strong demand for enhanced injections. increase.
In the United States, boosters are now available to anyone over 18 years old.

Health experts say that the introduction of booster injections in many Western countries highlights the inequality of vaccine deployment in other parts of the world.

In the UK, 88% of people over the age of 12 have received the first dose of the vaccine; data on November 20 shows that 80% of people have received two injections and 26% have already received booster shots.

In contrast, according to our data world, on average, only 10% of people in African countries received the first dose of the vaccine; data shows that only 7% of the African region received the full vaccine.

Fifth wave of fear

But the news from Israel is not all good news: Although the number of cases has fallen since September, the downward trend has plateaued. And, more worryingly, according to the Ministry of Health, the R rate—the average number of people infected with Covid-19—has returned to more than 1—a worrying sign that shows The virus may spread again.

Health experts such as Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute in Israel said that it is too early to judge whether the country is entering the fifth wave of the virus. But they pointed out that nearly 1.5 million people who had received two doses of the vaccine did not go back to receive the booster shots.

“Compared with the number of new vaccinations and booster vaccines, more people’s vaccines have faded over time, which has led to a slow decline in the total number. [population’s] Immunity,” Siegel wrote on Twitter last week.

Now Israel is working to prevent a possible fifth wave: officials encourage unvaccinated people to get vaccinated, as well as those who are eligible for booster doses. They also vaccinate children and take preventive measures.

According to Israeli health officials, many of the new infections in Israel are children between 5 and 11 years old. The campaign to vaccinate this age group began on Monday.

Europe is learning an important lesson-vaccines are effective, but now they alone cannot stop Covid

“About 50% of our infections every day occur in the age group under 11,” Dr. Ran Balicer, chairman of the Israeli Covid-19 National Expert Advisory Group, told CNN on Friday. “We think that this vaccination campaign can actually reverse the situation. If we have a good uptrend, it might bring us back downhill. [in vaccinations], As we hope. ”

However, even if there are a large number of vaccinated people, health experts say it is important that anti-coronavirus measures remain unchanged, especially in winter, because activities are conducted indoors.

Nachman Ash, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Public Health, told Israel Channel 13 that part of the increase in cases is due to people’s non-compliance with rules such as wearing masks.

“Enforcement is not enough,” Ash said. “And I see that over time, the public becomes relaxed and the infection rate drops, so people are not so careful. Therefore, yes, we must strengthen law enforcement.”

Barisse warned that ignoring the weakened immunity of those who had received two doses of the vaccine “may actually put people at risk due to false guarantees.”

“There is no single panacea that is sufficient to ensure protection against surges, especially in winter,” Ballise said. “This is a combination of a series of measures: indoor masks, population behavior, indoor activity restrictions and green certificates, and effective booster campaigns.

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