Omicron Variant and Vaccine Effectiveness in Israel

in Health & Science

With the Omicron variant on the scene, the effectiveness of the vaccine is being questioned. A recent Israeli study, conducted by Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay of Sheba Medical Center, found that people who received the vaccine more than 6 months ago or did not receive the third booster shot are at greater risk than those who took all three shots, which is about 46% of the country. The study found that for those who received the third booster, protection against the Omicron variant is more effective. 

The study was done with only 40 people, though Prof. Regev-Yochay believes it’s significant enough. She states that “the good news is with the booster dose there is significant protection. It is lower than the neutralization ability against Delta, about four times lower, but it is obviously very optimistic. Yet we don’t know if this will decrease with time and we’re working on that.”

With a mere 65 patients in Israel with Omicron and borders closed for foreigners without special approval, the Health Ministry is currently against mandating a fourth booster shot. Instead, they are directing their attention to the 42% of people who received only two shots or less. Instead of blanketing the danger of coronavirus, it seems the Health Ministry is recognizing their ability to be more defined in their protective mandates. Director-General Nachman Ash says that “We still do not see the possibility of administering the fourth vaccine to the general population, but first and foremost to high-risk populations.”

Based in the startup city of Tel Aviv, Zo Flamenbaum is a writer and social entrepreneur who dedicates her time to mission-driven projects that empower connection between the many diverse layers of our world. In 2014, she founded School of Shine as a value-based educational space for women who are tired of the ‘default life’ and crave personal freedom through self-expression for more purposeful living.

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