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The efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has plunged in Israel as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads throughout the country, Israel’s health ministry warned Monday.
The vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has dropped to 64 percent — down from the 95 percent protection it offered against the initial strain of the bug, the ministry said.
However, the mRNA jab is still 93 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness from the coronavirus.
Still, Eran Segal of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science said residents can “continue with life back to normal and without restrictions” — as long as the country’s vaccination campaign continues.
In Israel, 60 percent of people have received at least one Pfizer jab in a successful inoculation effort that has sent infections plummeting since January.
But in June, with the emergence of the Delta variant — the highly contagious mutation first discovered in India in December — the virus has spread to many vaccinated people.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 25 that about half of the adults infected were inoculated, and 90 percent of new infections in Israel were caused by the Delta variant.
“The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transmission dynamics,” Ran Balicer, who runs a COVID-19 government advisory committee, told the publication at the time.
A Pfizer rep declined to respond to the apparent reduced level of protection but insisted antibodies created by it protect against all variants.
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