Israel: Vaccination program delivers promising results

A small country could “get out of COVID for the first time in the world”, which will have a big impact on what happens next for the rest of us.

We paid a very high price to access one of the best coronavirus vaccines in the world and agreed to share data on accelerated deployment, but Israel’s expensive bet seems to have paid off. ..

Small countries in the Middle East are late Pfizer vaccine Behind the United States, Canada and Japan, according to Times of Israel, However, we were still able to gain quick access to millions of doses.

This was partly because Israel paid more vaccine – The United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to share data with Pfizer on rollout results, which is twice the amount enrolled in a single dose.

“We didn’t argue about prices,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in January.

Netanyahu also said that one of Pfizer’s selling points was Israel. Herd immunity Or something that is approaching group immunity very quickly. “

Israel “can serve as a global test case” Coronavirus He said about vaccines and the resumption of the economy.

Two months after the vaccine was launched, experts are now watching carefully to understand the effectiveness of the vaccine in the real world.

The program has been very successful and on Monday Netanyahu’s government announced the resumption of several businesses.

“We will be the first to escape in the world [of COVID]Netanyahu told Israeli channel 12.

He said he would decide whether the current blockade would be the last in Israel and recommended that 570,000 people over the age of 50 who had not yet been vaccinated get jabs.

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With a population almost double that of Sydney, Israel has already provided the first of two jabs to more than 4 million people in just two months.

This covers more than 40% of the 9 million population.

Of these, more than 2.6 million have also received a second jab.

Although the number of vaccinations is not as high as in other countries, Israel’s small population makes it easier to assess the effects of widespread vaccination, as a higher proportion of the population is potentially protected. I will.

Professor Allen Chen, who heads the government’s Australian Immunization Technology Advisory Group, told Samantha Maiden at in late January that what happens in Israel next month or so is that the vaccine will prevent infection. Of the virus that is important for understanding herd immunity, he said it would give experts ideas on how effective it is.

Israeli results cannot be transferred directly to Australia due to the use of the Pfizer vaccine. For Australians, most of the time AstraZeneca Shot, But it may provide the greatest signs of vaccine efficacy and the path back to normal.

So what does the data say?

Is it still possible to spread the virus?

So far, there is no clear answer as to whether a vaccinated person can infect others, but vaccination reduces the viral load, which can infect people. There is promising data that suggests it is low.

According to an analysis by DNA scientist Yaniv Erlich, Chief Science Officer at MyHeritage, and his colleague Ella Petter, vaccinated people who are still infected with the coronavirus have more virus levels than those who have not been vaccinated. Was found to be 1.5 to 20 times lower.

This means that even if infected, the virus is unlikely to be transmitted to others, giving hope that herd immunity will be achieved.

“Vaccinated people protect not only themselves, but their families, neighbors, and communities, so it’s important to get vaccinated,” Dr. Erlich said on Facebook on February 8. I am writing in the post.

Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, also stimulated the ability of vaccines to reduce viral load in people, as seen in Israeli and Spanish studies.

“Vaccines are not only important for an individual’s health to protect them from infectious diseases and illnesses, including mutants, but also very important from a public health perspective to interfere with and reduce the dynamics of their outbreak. It has a lot of meaning, “he says. Said on Wednesday.

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“Magic has begun”

With new vaccines, there is a risk that the results seen in the trial will not be reproduced in the real world. This can happen for a number of reasons, including the fact that people who sign up for trials tend to be healthier, more educated, and embrace new technologies.

But so far, Pfizer’s results seem to reflect what they’ve experienced in the exam, preventing people from getting sick.

Eran Segal, a scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science Tweeted on February 2nd That “magic has begun.”

He said in the past two weeks, cases of people over the age of 60 (among those who were first vaccinated) have decreased by 35%, hospitalizations have decreased by 30%, and critically ill patients have decreased by 20%. I did. ..

Subsequent tweets confirm that this trend continues, with people in the hospital appearing to be younger as a group of older people complete vaccinations.

This week, a study by the Institute of Clarit Health Services, Israel’s largest healthcare provider in partnership with Harvard University, found that vaccinated people had symptomatic infections compared to unvaccinated people. It turned out to be 94% less.

In addition, 7 days after the second dose, serious cases decreased by 91-99% in all age groups.

Clarit’s results, along with analysis from other agencies, give confidence that the Israeli government can begin to reopen the country.

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Obstacles still need to be overcome

However, Slow down the speed of people trying to get vaccinated..

“At the start of the campaign, we were accustomed to inoculating 100,000 to 120,000 people a day, but in the last few days we have rarely reached half that,” said Clarit’s vaccination manager. Said Karanit Kay. Israeli era..

There are concerns that anti-vaxxers are agitating domestically, and Israel also seems to serve as a test group on how to deal with people who are reluctant to get jabs.

Israel has now announced a “green badge” system for those who received both jabs to reopen certain venues.

Starting Sunday, anyone with a badge that will also be given to those who have recovered from the virus will be able to enter the gym, cultural events, places of worship and hotels.

“We are proceeding with a responsible resumption based on the principle that’you are vaccinated-you are in’,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday.

Other facilities, such as malls and museums, are open to all citizens under the so-called “purple code” with or without green badges, and crowd size restrictions and other restrictions apply in many of the pandemics. I am.

Hagai Levin, a public health professor and researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said Israeli vaccination-dependent resumption plans require a “subtle balance” between public health needs and personal freedom. I emphasized that there is.

He also told AFP that he had “the right not to be vaccinated.”

“I think people should do that, but you can’t force them,” he added, adding that those who opt out are inevitably at risk of being denied certain services. | @ charischang2

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