Record a number of cases, but fewer serious ones: Israel’s campaign for a third dose of the vaccine has helped mitigate the effects of the new wave of infections, according to preliminary data and experts.
Since coming to power in June, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has repeatedly said he wants to avoid redefining the country at all costs, a promise his government has kept so far despite recording more than 10,000 daily Covid cases, a local record. since the beginning of the pandemic.
To keep schools, businesses and places of worship open, Israel has taken a number of measures, such as forcing families with children under the age of 12 (who do not qualify for the vaccine) to take quick tests to access certain places. , causing frustration in the population
But the backbone of its measures remains the campaign for a booster dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for people over the age of 12, contrary to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) which believes that these doses should be given to poor countries and not in a country where over 80% of adults have already received two doses of the vaccine.
Experts interviewed by AFP and data released by the Israeli Ministry of Health suggest that this boost has allowed the number of serious cases to be reduced despite the increase in cases associated with the spread of the Delta variant, in particular among unvaccinated and those who have been vaccinated for more than five months.
The “vaccinated triples”
“When the fourth wave started, we did not know who was the main cause of the spread,” said Gabi Barbash, the former director general of the Ministry of Health, at Weizmann today. Research Institute.
But weeks after the start of the aid campaign, the number of serious cases has stabilized in Israel. And the rate of infection and serious cases among the three million “triple vaccinated” in this country of 9.3 million people has remained very low.
“The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine decreases after five months. When immunity weakens and a contagious variant (such as Delta) is released, it is a disaster,” Mr Barbash said, adding that without the withdrawal dose the effects of the fourth wave would be worse for the Jewish state.
According to the data of the Ministry of Health, the percentage of serious cases these days is about 4 per 100,000 inhabitants among the triple vaccinated, compared to 35 / 100,000 for people who have received one or two doses and 150 / 100,000 for unvaccinated.
“If you are 60 and older and have not been vaccinated, you are 35 times more likely to have serious side effects and eight times more likely to take two doses than to take a booster dose,” said Cyrille Cohen, a professor at the University. Bar Ilan and member of the Government Scientific Committee on Vaccination.
When, after consulting with this scientific committee, the government launched its campaign for an aid dose, epidemiologist Hagai Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, remained “skeptical”, questioning the need for a third dose.
But, he told AFP today, this campaign has stabilized the number of serious cases and therefore proved to be a “success”.
But Israel, which has more than a million people eligible for the vaccine but denies it, will not get out of the crisis by vaccination alone and control measures are therefore necessary, he warns.
Tests, vaccines and tests
In this month of “Jewish holidays,” when families gather, many Israelis complain about the difficulty of making appointments at checkpoints, overcrowded by the number of students who come in contact with the tens of thousands of their classmates who have been positive from the beginning. of the school year.
At a screening center in Jerusalem, Julia Ortenberg, a mother of three, stands in line to test her daughter, whose classmate has Covid.
Julia’s daily routine turned into a struggle between her daughter’s first test, her 13-year-old son’s vaccination, and her daughter’s second test, a week later, so she could return to class.
At first, Julia was reluctant to get her son vaccinated, but without the vaccine, she would have had to take distance classes or be negative every other day to attend classes. And that, he said, “was not an option.”
Author: 7sur7.be – 7sur7.be