3.3 billion doses of vaccine against the corona virus Given So far around the world, almost half of them are in China alone. In many countries the vaccination campaigns are progressing well and an increasing proportion of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In the EU countries, which initially suffered from bureaucratic and organizational barriers that severely delayed their population vaccination, more than 380 million doses have been given so far, and more than half of the population has received at least one dose. In some European countries the immunization rate is still low, including Croatia, Romania and Albania.
In the United States, the 245th Independence Day celebrations took place with an impressive achievement – 67 percent of the adult population in the country has been vaccinated In at least one serving. This number is very close to the ambitious goal set by President Joe Biden when he took office about six months ago – 70 percent immunization to this day. So it still sounds imaginary. However, vaccine distribution is uneven and in some states, including Indiana, South Carolina and Louisiana, the rate of vaccinating is still low.
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In the field of juvenile vaccines, in the United States there appears to be a significant slowdown in the rate of immunization. Approaching there slowly Vaccinate five million teens In one serving, and 3.6 million in two servings. In Israel, the corresponding operation Accelerated This week to a rate of over 20,000 vaccinated per day under the age of 16. The urgency stems from two main reasons: the outbreak of the Delta variant in the country, which is particularly common in young and unvaccinated; And the fact that the vaccines in the country are about to expire at the end of the month, before it is agreed when the next shipment will arrive from Pfizer.
In this matter, Israel signed at the last minute Agreement with South Korea For the transfer of 700,000 vaccine doses for immediate use by Korean residents, in exchange for the same amount that will be delivered to Israel in the fall. For the Koreans this is a great deal, due The low immunization rate Very much in it – less than 30 percent of its population received at least one dose, and because of the Delta variant Which is starting to spread there as well. And of course, this avoids wasting hundreds of thousands of life-saving vaccines.
Two gloomy assessments were published in Israel this week – one by Researchers from the Hebrew University And the second Of the Ministry of Health, which apparently relied on the same data. Estimates show that the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing infection with the Delta variant is significantly lower than the estimates that have been obtained so far and stand at only about 64 percent. However, his protection rate from serious illness remains high and stands at about 93 percent.
These data contradict studies from England, Scotland and Canada, which found that the efficacy of receiving two doses of Pfizer vaccines is much higher, but are consistent with A study from Singapore Which reported 69 percent efficacy in preventing infection. It is possible that the unique situation in Israel, which preceded the vaccination of most of its adult population, does allow local research to reflect a more reliable picture of reality, as has already happened in previous studies published in Israel in recent months. On the other hand, there may be a bias in the findings and that in a few weeks we will find that the concern was excessive.
Even if the vaccine does not completely prevent infection and may not even be a mild illness, it still seems to prevent life-threatening complications well – and this is the main concern from the corona. Still, as the number of patients increases, so does the serious morbidity, and with it the number of hospitalized. Thanks to the vaccines, this increase is much more moderate than what we saw in previous waves, but it shows us that the virus is still here and that complacency should not be allowed to enter.
This week was also published Research Which showed that spouses living together are at increased risk of becoming infected even if they are vaccinated. It has been published for the time being on the preliminary advertising site MedRXIV, and has not yet undergone peer review. The study showed that the risk of infection of vaccinated spouses is about 12 percent, compared to 50 percent in those who have not been vaccinated. The data were collected in winter, when most of the infection was in the alpha (British) variant. The situation with the Delta variant seems to be more serious, partly in light of findings from China that show That the viral load Its significantly higher.
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Live with the virus
in the UK In the meantime, preparations are underway for the full opening of the economy Despite the current wave of illness, in an attempt to adapt to life alongside the virus. The United Kingdom took a similar step during the first wave almost a year ago, but then it led to disaster and thousands of casualties. The hope is that the situation is different now thanks to the vaccines, but there are doctors already Warning of an increase in serious illness, although In moderation. Like any gamble, no matter how calculated, it is difficult to predict where it will lead. Similar to the gambles that other countries have received throughout the crisis, everyone will learn lessons from it in retrospect. For the time being, Israel prefers a more cautious approach and is even considering enacting a series of moderate restrictions on the public, such as preventing gatherings, tightening the criteria for isolation and additional restrictions on entering the country through Ben Gurion Airport.
Meanwhile, the corona virus itself does not freeze on its yeast and more and more of its variants are being created, such as Delta Plus, the California variant and more. Most of them will not be established, or cause extraordinary damage, but it is enough for one to have the ability to infect, or the ability to evade the vaccine that will surpass even those of the Variant Delta, for us to witness a renewed global outbreak. However it is important to remember that the scientific community has another ace up its sleeve and that is the ability to update the vaccine in a relatively short time so that even if the virus changes significantly, it will be possible to update the vaccine quickly (relatively).
We are again in a time of uncertainty. Has the virus managed to change enough to challenge the vaccine recipients’ strengthened immune system and spread almost unhindered, or are the British right and we have found the golden path of “living with the virus”. It is still unclear what day child is, although the cues, and especially the increase in the number of severe patients, tend slightly towards the first option. time will tell.