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Israel reports a decrease in new coronavirus cases among those vaccinated.

Israel coronavirus

Image Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Israel reported a significant decrease in new coronavirus cases and hospital admissions among vaccinated age groups. This comes after a massive vaccination campaign, considered to be the fastest in the world.

Eighty per cent of people above 60 years received their first dose by 15th January. By 4th February, 78 per cent of this group were given the second dose. The number of daily cases in people above 60 years have decreased by 46 per cent compared to January. So far, Israel has given the first dose to 3,390,398 people and second dose to 1,986,370 people. This means that around a third of Israel’s population has been given at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Initially, when cases started to decrease in the second week of January, health authorities were unsure whether the decrease was due to the vaccination campaign or the national lock-down which has been ongoing since January 8th. As more data came in, health authorities confirmed that the dip in infections was due to the vaccination campaign.

Professor Eran Segal that leads the team in Tel Aviv that analyzes the data said,

The effect is stronger (among older people) than in the younger populations who were later to vaccinate, and these patterns were not seen in the previous lockdown.

Professor Eran Segal.

This is giving hope to a lot of countries, as countries have been waiting for cases to decrease, as they are rapidly vaccinating their public. United Kingdom and United States are the two major countries that come close to Israel in their vaccination campaign. Analysts will observe whether the results of vaccination are replicated in the US and UK. The results of UK’s vaccination campaign are thought to be the most important, as this will show the effectiveness of the vaccine against the high prevalence of the B.1.1.7 strain. The UK strain B.1.1.7 make up 80 per cent of the new cases in Israel, so it is expected that UK’s daily cases to dip as seen in Israel.

The (Israeli) results are convincing and give us a lot of hope.

Professor of Immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, Akiko Iwasaki.

The vaccinations in Israel are now being aimed at anyone above 16 years old, as the rapid vaccination campaign is losing steam as less people are going to be vaccinated mostly among Arab people, ultra-orthodox Jews and young people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging people above 50 years old to get vaccinated.

Unfortunately, in some areas there are vaccine shortages. In the central area of Tel Aviv, there were not enough doses to complete the two shots, and a surge in appointments for the vaccine crashed the website. Unfortunately, earlier in the week, Clalit health provider announced that it had to discard 1,000 vaccine doses after they expired. Pfizer vaccine expires quickly after being removed from deep freeze.

The Israeli cabinet is now planning on easing the third lock-down and reopen schools. Last Wednesday, Israeli’s cabinet announced that it will extend the date of reopening of schools and Ben Gurion airport until the rate of new cases decrease further. The airport will remain closed until at least February 20th.

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