“Preliminary sign” in Israel that Delta variant of coronavirus may resist vaccines, expert says

The increase in cases of coronavirus on Israel, where the majority of the population received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, is “a preliminary sign” that this vaccine may be less effective in preventing mild forms of COVID-19 caused by Delta variant, an expert said Monday.

However, Ran Balicer, president of the national panel of experts on covid-19 of Israel, stressed that it was “too early to accurately assess the efficacy of vaccines against the variant,” first identified in India in April and which is spreading around the world.

Balicer, also director of innovation for the Clalit health insurance company, told AFP that the appearance of the Delta variant as a dominant mutation has caused a “massive change in transmission dynamics”.

Vaccine deployment in Israel, which started in December, has been one of the fastest in the world, which has made the country a case study.

Vaccinations had reduced transmission to about five new local cases a day, but that number rose to about 300 in recent days because of the Delta variant.

About half of the daily cases occur in children, and the other half in adults, most of whom are vaccinated.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Sunday that “with the Delta variant on the rampage,” Israel may have to re-introduce certain restrictions that were lifted last month to curb transmission.

Melissa Galbraith
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