By the end of 2020, Israel had launched a massive anti-Covid vaccination campaign, administering two doses of vaccines to those over 16 years of age.
In the spring, the country came close to collective immunity, but the emergence of the more contagious Delta variant was a game-changer.
For the new government, which wishes to avoid a fourth general confinement of the population, it is urgent to strengthen vaccination coverage.
He was one of the top performers when it comes to Covid vaccination, but Israel has not escaped a fourth wave of coronavirus.
The Hebrew state, among the first in the world to have massively vaccinated its population, is currently experiencing an epidemic rebound caused by the Delta variant.
In question, perhaps too early lifting of restrictions, but above all millions of people refractory to the anti-Covid vaccine, constituting an important reservoir of circulation of the virus.
For health authorities, no other choice but to put in place new restrictions.
And to vaccinate all those who have not yet received the vaccine, including children.
Collective immunity almost reached
Everything had been anticipated. At the end of 2020, Israel kicks off its anti-Covid vaccination campaign. The Hebrew state, which has signed a contract with Pfizer, quickly receives millions of doses and, unlike France which reserves its doses for the elderly and the most vulnerable, Israel massively vaccinates its entire population, from the start. age 16. In three months, 60% of Israelis are vaccinated. Responsiveness that pays quickly: contamination, hospitalizations and deaths linked to Covid-19 are falling. The country is getting closer to collective immunity, and is gradually lifting its restrictions in the spring. While France sulks because it is reconfiguring itself for the third time, in Israel, the terraces reopen and life before resumes. And on June 9, no Covid case was identified in the country,who then thinks they have won their battle against the virus.
In mid-April, wearing a mask outdoors is no longer compulsory.
On June 1, Israel abolishes its green passport - the equivalent of the health pass - and two weeks later, wearing a mask indoors is no longer mandatory either.
The beginning of summer is marked by recklessness, but the arrival of the Delta variant, much more contagious than the previous strains, reshuffles the maps of the epidemic.
The non-vaccinated, an important reservoir for the virus to circulate
Because if a majority of the Israeli population, which counts 9.3 million people, has willingly been vaccinated, a fringe of diehard vaccine-resistant prevents the country from achieving collective immunity. While 5.4 million people have received their two doses, one million Israelis refuse to be vaccinated. Rejects mostly expressed within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which represents about a third of the adult population of the country, and within the Israeli Arab minority. “Vaccination rates in the Arab community are too low,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on August 9. According to the Galilee Society, a nonprofit Arab Israeli health care organization, only 51% of Arab Israelis have been vaccinated in total, compared to 66% of all Israeli citizens.
To these figures are added young adults who feel "neither the desire nor the need to be vaccinated because they believe they are not at high risk of complications or mortality from the Covid", explained the epidemiologist Antoine Flahault at
. As many unvaccinated adults who constitute an important reservoir of circulation of the virus. A reservoir inflated by people vaccinated for more than six months, whose immunity conferred by the Pfizer serum begins to wane. But also by the younger population, with children more affected by the Delta variant.
“Everyone fell asleep when it was announced that mass immunity was almost reached. In fact, the effectiveness of the vaccine was decreasing and the Delta variant is much more contagious than the previous ones. Today, we are in an emergency, ”
Nadav Davidovitch, epidemiologist director of the school of public health at David-Ben-Gurion University
. Result: in recent weeks, contaminations have been on the rise, with more than 6,000 new cases recorded daily. And Tuesday, more than 8,700 new cases were identified by the health authorities, the highest figure since January. An epidemic resumption which results in an increase in hospitalizations, with nearly 600 patients treated for serious forms of the virus.
Strengthen vaccination coverage to avoid a
For the new government headed by Naftali Bennett, the urgency is to prevent the health situation from worsening and leading to the saturation of the country's hospitals in the coming weeks, while in September, several Jewish holidays will be celebrated.
If he raised the possibility of a fourth general confinement, the new Prime Minister wants to avoid it at all costs.
And for this purpose, it is focusing on the strengthening of the vaccination campaign.
“I am calling on young people who have not been vaccinated at all, and there are many: Go out today to get vaccinated.
This way, you won't get infected and you won't infect anyone.
It will save the lives of your loved ones, ”insisted Naftali Bennett.
At the same time, the 49-year-old Prime Minister received his third dose of the Covid vaccine on Friday, encouraging people to emulate him and becoming the first leader in the world to receive a booster dose.
The Hebrew state launched a third dose campaign three weeks ago aimed at people over 60 years old.
A minimum age for this recall lowered to 50 years on August 13, and to 40 years since Thursday.
"If you are going to get vaccinated with a third dose, we can avoid a fourth lockdown," the head of government said.
And children are also invited to go through the vaccination box.
“We were probably very close to collective immunity in March-April.
But it was impossible to reach this threshold when the children were not vaccinated ”, assured Nadav Davidovich to the
In early June, the authorities extended the vaccination to young people aged 12 to 16 and since August 1, children aged 5 to 11 at risk of serious complications from Covid-19 can be vaccinated.
And this Monday, Israel announced to set up anti-Covid vaccination stands in schools at the start of the school year.
Students "will be vaccinated on school premises during school hours, subject to parental authorization," the Israeli government said, now starting September 1.
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