Covid: Israel vaccine fears ‘out of context and inaccurate’
By Rachel Schraer
Israel, one of the top countries when it comes to vaccinating against Covid-19, bought large stocks of the jab in exchange for acting as the world’s guinea pig.
And scientists are watching data shared by the country keenly, for signs of how effective the vaccine is when given to a whole population.
So there was understandable concern when the man coordinating Israel’s Covid response reportedly suggested a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine might not be as effective as reported.
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Addressing Prof Nachman Ash’s quotes, the Israeli Ministry of Health said: “The comments of the Israeli Covid-19 commissioner regarding the effect of the first dose of the vaccine were out of context and, therefore, inaccurate.
“The commissioner said we have yet to see a decrease in the number of severely ill patients.”
The “full protective impact of the vaccine” was expected to be seen soon, a spokesperson added.
After vaccination, the body needs time to recognise the virus’s genetic material and mount an immune response – producing the antibodies and T-cells that block the virus from entering cells and killing off those cells that do become infected.
And it takes a minimum of two weeks – but probably more – to really take effect, immunologists including Prof Danny Altmann at Imperial College London, say.
Some of the people who were hospitalised in recent weeks will have received a first dose of the vaccine. But that’s not necessarily a sign it hasn’t been effective.
Given the time it takes for immunity to build and unvaccinated people to become exposed to the virus, incubate it and develop symptoms, the national data would not be expected to reflect the impact of vaccination for at least a month.