0.04 per cent of vaccinated Israelis contracted coronavirus – Government Minister

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Tel Aviv (dpa) – Only 317 out of 715,425 Israelis who have received the required two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine have tested positive, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. 

That works out at 0.04 per cent, it said in a statement.

Israel is one of the first to publish such a large-scale real-world result. 

Of 834 seriously and critically ill Covid-19 patients aged over 60, only 2 per cent have been fully vaccinated, meaning that at least one week has passed since they received the second Pfizer/BioNTech dose. 

Of 322 serious and critical patients aged under 60, only 1 per cent has been fully vaccinated, the ministry said.

The past month of Israel’s third lockdown has nonetheless been the worst in terms of Covid-19 related deaths, as experts say the restrictions, as well as the country’s massive vaccination campaign, are taking longer than expected to show their effects, probably due to the new strain of the virus that first appeared in Britain.

As many as 30 per cent of all Israelis who died of the virus died during this period, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.

When Israel imposed a third nationwide lockdown on December 27, the overall death toll was 3,222. On Thursday, it stood at 4,612. 

Israel tightened the lockdown on January 7. In addition to bars, restaurants and shopping centres which were already closed, schools and kindergartens were also shut, with the exception of special education.

Since Israel launched the biggest vaccination campaign in its history, nearly 2.9 million citizens have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – some 30 per cent of its population of nearly 9.3 million. 

Nearly 1.5 million people have also received their second dose.

A heated debate was expected in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet over a further extension to the current lockdown which is due to end on January 31.

The session was postponed amid a despite between Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party and his unity government partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White Alliance.

Ahead of March 23 parliamentary elections, Gantz has accused the long-time premier of failing to enforce the lockdown on ultra-Orthodox groups for fear of alienating political allies.

Some religious seminaries in ultra-Orthodox areas have stayed open in defiance of the lockdown rules.   

Israelis appear tired of the virus restrictions, and unlike during the first and second lockdowns last year, many shops selling non-essential items are open. Traffic, too is almost at pre-lockdown levels.0.04 per cent of vaccinated Israelis contracted coronavirus

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