COVID-19 surged, infected millions, killed a large number, and then started waning. Then it surged and waned around the globe. And now it’s a variant, Delta, that is surging all over.
Some health officials are saying that, in addition to everyone needing to take the experimental vaccines, those who already are vaccinated now might need a booster shot.
Mandates haven’t developed there yet, and there have been opinions on both sides of that issue regarding Delta, which appears to be able to infect the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.
But now a report in ScienceMag quotes Dvir Aran, a biomedical data scientist in Israel, who said that those who have access to vaccines, “Do not think that the boosters are the solution.”
Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology, also known as Technion, said the problem from Delta is vastly different from the first surges in COVID-19 infections.
“There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” Shalit confirmed.
According to the report, Israel has about the highest level of vaccination for COVID-19 in the world, with 78% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated, the vast majority with the Pfizer vaccine.
“Yet the country is now logging one of the world’s highest infection rates, with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people. More than half are in fully vaccinated people, underscoring the extraordinary transmissibility of the Delta variant and stoking concerns that the benefits of vaccination ebb over time,” the report revealed.
Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz explained, as his nation became the first to offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, that he has a warning to the world:
Even the best vaccinated nations in the world can face a Delta surge.
Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Callit Health Services, Israel’s biggest HMO, said, “If it can happen here, it can probably happen everywhere.”
Israel throughout COVID had led with vaccinations.
“I watch [details from Israel] very, very closely because it is some of the absolutely best data coming out anywhere in the world,” explained David O’Connor, of the University of Wisconsin.
Its vaccine rates always have been high, and its medical industry has provided a trove of metrics on coronavirus.
But now, with Delta, the immunity may be waning.
A report from MHS found that protection from COVID-19 infection during June and July dropped in proportion to how long ago the patient was vaccinated.
“People vaccinated in January had a 2.26 times greater risk for a breakthrough infection than those vaccinated in April,” the report said.
As of now, about three-fifths of all hospitalized COVID patients are patients who previously were vaccinated.
While new cases there were scarcely registering at the start of summer, Israel now has the highest level in months.
And a further warning from the results is that “breakthrough” cases are not even rare.
As of the middle of August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older, the report revealed.
Shalit explained, “One of the big stories from Israel [is]: ‘Vaccines work, but not well enough.'”
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