Report from Israel: About Half of Adults Infected With Covid-19 Delta Variant Were Fully Inoculated
Ran Balicer leads an expert Covid-19 advisory panel for the Israeli government. Friday he shared some troubling news with the Wall Street Journal:“The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transmission dynamics,” said Prof. Balicer, who is also the chief innovation officer for Israel’s largest health-management organization, Clalit.
About half of adults infected in the outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Israel were fully inoculated.
These so-called breakthrough cases — defined as positive Covid-19 test results received at least two weeks after patients receive their final vaccine dose — are broadly expected as the Pfizer vaccine is highly effective but not 100% foolproof, according to Mr. Balicer. Israeli health officials are optimistic that even if the variant does spread, evidence from countries such as the U.K. indicate the vaccine will prevent a large increase in severe illness and hospitalizations that plagued the country’s health system in previous outbreaks. Israel has recorded only five severe cases in the past 10 days, Prof. Balicer said, but whether more will emerge is too early to tell….
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said the worrisome variant is now present in 85 countries.
Several countries appear concerned that fully vaccinated people could still spread the Delta variant. Israel’s government just reimposed safety measures (including an indoor-mask requirement), according to the Journal. And Sydney, Australia (the country’s largest city, housing more than 5 million people) “will enter a hard two-week lockdown on Saturday night…” reports CNN, “as authorities try to contain a fast-spreading outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant.”More than a million people in downtown Sydney and the city’s eastern suburbs were already under lockdown due to the outbreak, but health authorities said they needed to expand that after more Covid-19 cases were recorded, with exposure sites increasing beyond the initial areas of concern.
Meanwhile, CNBC reports:The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice other Covid-19 pandemic safety measures as the highly contagious delta variant spreads rapidly across the globe. “People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said during a news briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission,” Simao added. “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene … the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing.”
CNN reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also “warned that there is a small chance a fully vaccinated person could still get infected if they’re exposed.”“Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most variants currently spreading in the United States. However, some variants might cause illness in some people even after they are fully vaccinated,” CDC spokesperson Jade Fulce told CNN in an email on Friday. While Covid-19 vaccines are effective, Fulce said no vaccine is “100% effective at preventing illness.” And with millions of people getting vaccinated against the virus, some who are fully vaccinated “will still get sick if they are exposed,” Fulce said.
“However, people with breakthrough infections may get less severely ill or have a shorter illness than they would have if they had not been vaccinated.”