Saturday, December 4

Covid-19: The delta variant is primed with Israel, a pioneer country in vaccination | Society


A girl undergoes an antigen test to enter a theme park in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
A girl undergoes an antigen test to enter a theme park in Tel Aviv on Thursday.JACK GUEZ / AFP

The streets of Jerusalem have once again filled with faces with masks, without their use being compulsory abroad. Two months ago the last restrictions were lifted in Israel, with the feeling of having achieved herd immunity, and the masks were left behind in the drawers. With about 60% of its 9.3 million inhabitants injected with the full Pfizer-BioNtech regimen, Israelis appeared to have left the pandemic behind last spring, while Western countries were still taking the first steps in the immunization campaign.

It’s not like that. Israel suffers from a high rate of coronavirus infections following the spread of the delta variant. Despite massive vaccination, 15% of citizens did not want to be vaccinated. The Prime Minister, Naftali Bennet, has just called out when he warned in a televised press conference on Wednesday night that, although he will try to avoid a new shutdown of the economy at all costs, there was no choice but to reimpose the confinement ” as the last line of defense, if all other options fail ”, coinciding with the Jewish holidays in September.

The president of the group of experts that advises the Government, the public health specialist Ran Balicer, recognizes andn statements to the Ynet information portal that the rate of spread of covid in Israel is now “one of the highest in the world”, with about 8,000 new infections daily and a positivity rate of 5.5% in screening tests carried out on Wednesday. During the last peak of the pandemic, registered in January, there were around 10,000 cases a day, with a positivity rate close to 10%. “These are worrying data, in view of the hundred serious cases recorded every day, which is a heavy burden for the health system,” he warned. Israel registered a total of 603 patients admitted with serious or very serious symptoms on Wednesday, of which 106 were connected to ventilators.

At the beginning of the summer, daily life seemed to have returned to the days before the first lockdown, in March 2020, with Israelis traveling abroad en masse after more than a year of border closures. Some presumably imported the delta variant. Israel is no longer the only country with a high vaccination rate. Spain, for example, exceeds it by two points, with 64.7% of its population inoculated, although the demographic cohort under 12 years of age is much higher in the Jewish State. The majority of those over 40 years of age, however, were vaccinated in January or February in Israel, and received a certificate that indicated that the efficacy of the antidote expired after six months, although the Ministry of Health extended it until the end of anus.

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“We are waging a war in the midst of a morbidity that grows day by day”, has also admitted the national coordinator for the pandemic, Dr. Salman Zarka, in an appearance before the Knesset (Parliament). The revaccination with the third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, which has been the weapon wielded by Israel in the face of the so-called fourth wave of the covid, begins to be effective three weeks after being offered to those over 60 as a way to curb income hospitable.

The effectiveness of the booster injection in this group rises to 86%, according to a preliminary study by the mutual health Maccabi, qwhich covers a quarter of the population. The Ministry of Health assured in July that the effectiveness of protection after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech had been reduced to 39%, compared to the 90% it offered to those injected in January. None of these studies have been endorsed by their scientific review in the most prestigious medical journals.

The United States has just announced that it will follow in Israel’s footsteps starting in September and will revaccinate the most vulnerable people with the third dose. In the meantime, many European countries, including Spain, are considering adopting the measure, despite the fact that the World Health Organization has recommended waiting for the population at risk in the most disadvantaged countries to be immunized, in order to prevent the appearance of new most contagious and lethal variants of covid.

1.2 million third doses

Israel is now going to extend immunization with the third dose from the age of 40, a measure approved this Thursday by the committee of experts, after having extended it last day 13 to those over 50 years of age, as well as to health personnel and immunosuppressed people . More than 1.2 million Israelis, 12% of the population, have already been revaccinated. The Hebrew press anticipates that the third dose may be extended to everyone over the age of 12 in the coming weeks. Despite the hopeful signs, the lethal curve among those infected by covid-19 continues to grow. More than 120 of them have lost their lives in the last week: twice as many as during the entire month of July and 15 times more than in June.

The reinforcement puncture, which is proving safe and with hardly any side effects, has been accompanied by the reinstatement of restrictions. Last week the covid certificate was reintroduced in Israel as a safe conduct in daily life to access concert halls, cultural and sports venues, bars and restaurants, gyms, hotels and cinemas, among other spaces. The so-called green pass certifies complete vaccination, having overcome the disease or having a negative detection test otherwise.

Since Wednesday, the COVID certificate is required even for children over three years of age, who have to undergo rapid antigen tests to be able to enter the controlled premises. Public health bears the cost of serological tests up to 12 years of age, since this age group does not have the option to be vaccinated. The Ministry of Defense has also mobilized 6,000 reservists from the Internal Front Command (equivalent to the Military Emergency Unit) to assist in screening tasks in schools before the next start of the school year. The rest of the non-immunized Israelis of their own free will now have to pay for screening tests, such as a green pass toll, to enjoy the same freedom of movement as the fully inoculated citizens they have declined to receive.


elpais.com

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