Health Panel Warns Israeli Government of Another COVID-19 Wave, Says Vaccinating Children is Not Enough

Writer:Lois

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/ AP Images

According to the health panel advising the Israeli government, the nation faces a further COVID wave. The warning comes amidst the nation’s increasing infection rates. The committee also suggested that the COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness is falling.

“At the moment, there is still no clear evidence of a significant outbreak, but it is very likely that one will occur,” read the panel report.

The document also noted that around a third of Israel’s population is unvaccinated. 

Furthermore, researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem published a report similarly warning of another COVID-19 wave. They based this prediction on weakened immunity levels and the late distribution of booster shots. According to their report, if the current infection rates continue, Israel could face up to 2,500 new cases daily by the end of December.

Although the Israeli government launched a vaccination initiative on Tuesday for children aged five to 11, the panel said vaccinating children is not enough to end the pandemic. Instead, they recommended further restrictions, including more tests for those arriving in Israel. They also urged tight restrictions during the country’s upcoming Hanukkah festivities, especially with activities involving children.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also attended a COVID-19 cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He ordered officials to prepare a rapid antigen testing campaign for schools following Hanukkah. Furthermore, government ministers decided to extend existing restrictions on indoor spaces for an extra two weeks.

Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute, who also attended the Tuesday meeting, stated that Israel’s immunity has fallen since November. He noted the rise in the number of Israel’s new confirmed cases to support his claim.

Among Mr Segal’s reasons for the rise in the average number of infected people were the unsatisfactory enforcement of COVID-19 rules and increased infection rates among children.

“In this reality, vaccines aren’t enough to stop the [COVID-19] wave, and we need to continue using all the effective methods that minimize infection without hurting the economy,” read a summary of the Tuesday cabinet meeting.

“This includes strengthening public awareness and effectively enforcing Green Pass guidelines and masks in enclosed spaces, as well as renewing the effort of ensuring those exposed to the virus quarantine.”

Meanwhile, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed that the total deaths from all causes in the Pfizer vaccinated group were slightly higher in the months following the trial than the group injected with a saline solution placebo. There were 17 deaths in the placebo group and 21 in the vaccinated group.

The FDA justified its vaccine approval by claiming it did not find a relation between the vaccine and increased mortality risk. The vaccine group allegedly reported 103 adverse reaction events, while the placebo group reported 117. Nevertheless, the FDA gave no further details of these reports.

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