Israel: 4th vaccine dose recommended for all adults

A panel of health experts advising the Israeli cabinet on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has recommended that a 4th vaccine dose be administered to the population over the age of 18 if at least five months passed since receiving the third jab. report



Israel: Fourth dose of vaccine gives limited protection against Omicron infection




Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Israel: Fourth dose of vaccine gives limited protection against Omicron infection

Preliminary results from the study conducted at Sheba Medical Center showed that after receiving the fourth shot, participants developed higher coronavirus antibody levels, but they were only partly effective in preventing Omicron infections.

Full story at


Lead researcher Prof Gili Regev-Yochay said the third dose resulted in “much higher antibodies, neutralization and the antibodies were not just higher in quantity but also in quality” than the second dose – but the fourth vaccine did not show  significant antibody increase.

”Maybe there are a few more antibodies but not much more compared to the third dose,” said Regev-Yochay.






Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Israel: Vaccine passport “has run its course and is no longer relevant”

Israel must rethink its COVID-19 response strategy, a senior health expert said on Thursday, as infections explode nationwide ushered in by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Prof. Ran Balicer, who heads the expert panel advising the government on the pandemic, believes since the Omicron variant can evade vaccine protection, the Green Pass — a document that allows Israelis who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from the disease access to public accommodations — has run its course and is no longer relevant.

“Everyone should now proceed with caution, avoiding going to crowded places, including those requiring the Green Pass since they are dangerous at this time,” he said. “Places that require a Green Pass are no longer protected from Omicron infections, this has to be acknowledged and said sincerely.”

Prof. Galia Rahav, head of the infectious disease department at Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest hospital, told Ynet that the Green Pass mandate is a “farce”. The certificate is issued to Israelis who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus or recovered from it within the last six months.

“What meaning does it have anymore when we know that some 80% if not more of those who were confirmed to carry the virus are vaccinated?” said Prof. Rahav. “Sure, the vaccine is important and protects against serious illness, but I don’t know what is the point of this setup anymore.”

Israel: Effects of 4th Covid booster dose are good, but not good enough

An Israeli health expert has said that although officials are satisfied with the results reported about the effects of the fourth coronavirus shot, they expected more from the second booster.

“The preliminary results showed a five-fold increase in antibody levels, it’s good news, but it’s not enough, we were hoping for better results,” Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay told Ynet. report


** You cannot fight this Hydra with a single weapon. It requires defence in depth.  It requires a multi-layered approach where vaccines represent one single element of a much larger firewall. **

NY Times – The Swiss Cheese Model of Pandemic Defense


Israel: Vaccine passport “has run its course and is no longer relevant”


* According to Hesiod, the Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. It had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly. The Hydra possessed many heads, the exact number of which varies according to the source. Later versions of the Hydra story add a regeneration feature to the monster: for every head chopped off, the Hydra would regrow two heads. Heracles required the assistance of his nephew Iolaus to cut off all of the monster’s heads and burn the neck using a sword and fire (Wikipedia)




Image by krystianwin from Pixabay

Israel considers herd immunity through mass infection

Senior Israeli Health Ministry officials are reportedly weighing a switch to a policy of reaching herd immunity through mass infection by Covid-19.

In light of the lack of immediate rise in serious illness, Channel 12 news reported Tuesday evening that senior officials in the Health Ministry have recently raised the option of switching to a “mass infection model.”

That would mirror Sweden’s policy in the early stage of the pandemic, which saw the country elect not to impose major restrictions on people who aren’t in risk groups, in a bid to continue normal life while eventually reaching herd immunity.

Times of Israel report


** Herd Immunity against Sars-CoV-2 isn’t possible. Implementing this plan would lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of Israelis, and would remove many hundreds of thousands more from the workforce.  You don’t need to take our word for it – just wait one month, then we’ll revisit this discussion to see how the policy of mass infection worked in the UK and the USA over winter. **


15th March 2020:

Back in July 2021, another hare-brained proposal was the talk of the town:

Israel: We have to learn to live with Covid


UPDATE, 31st December 2021:

An interesting opinion piece in by Prof. Siegal Sadetzki, former head of public health at the Israeli Health Ministry, outlines some of the reasons behind the shift in Israeli policy.

“I object to the idea of reaching herd immunity through mass infection. My medical advice to anyone, and especially those at high risk, is to be as vigilant as possible and try getting through this wave without getting infected.

Infection does not necessarily make you immune and its side effects could be severe. The idea of herd immunity is irrelevant and will not help us move forward to end the pandemic.

Any person who wishes to ensure their safety and of their family and loved ones should make sure to always wear a face mask, avoid gatherings, work from home if possible and get vaccinated.

Perhaps the real meaning of living under the shadow of the virus is to shift decision-making into the hands of the individual. It is time to shift the paradigm of responsibility — there are general decisions on the national level that are appropriate for a state of emergency, and then there are personal decisions.” article


Our response:

** We have all seen what happens when you shift the paradigm of responsibility towards the individual. Just look at what has happened in Britain and the USA over the last two years. Do either of these countries really represent a model that any other country should be following?

Tackling Sars-CoV-2 has to be a collective global effort.

Absolving governments of their responsibilities in a pandemic would lead to certain defeat against the virus and to the destruction of human life on a quite unimaginable scale. **

UPDATE: 3rd January 2022

“The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable.

This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.”

The Lancet – Scientific consensus on the COVID-19 pandemic: we need to act now



Omicron may be contagious for longer than other variants

Confirmed carriers of the Omicron COVID-19 variant will be required to quarantine for 14 days in Israel, instead of the 10 days mandated for confirmed carriers of other coronavirus strains, the Israeli Health Ministry has decreed.

“This update is being applied in light of the suspicion that verified carriers of the Omicron variant may be contagious for a longer period than observed in cases of other variants,” the statement said

Times of Israel report




Israeli doctor believes he caught Omicron variant of Covid in London

Cardiologist Elad Maor suspects he caught virus at conference attended by more than 1,200 people. 

The doctor who is one of the first people in the world to become infected with the Omicron variant says he believes he caught the virus when he was in London for a major medical conference attended by more than 1,200 health professionals.

The disclosure from Elad Maor will raise fears that the variant may have been in the UK much earlier than previously realised – and that other medics could have been exposed to it too.

The Guardian report


Israel: Triple jabbed doctor found infected with Omicron after flight from London


UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster



Image by jorono from Pixabay

Israel: Triple jabbed doctor found infected with Omicron after flight from London

Two Israeli cardiologists have been confirmed as infected with the Omicron variant, a spokesperson for Sheba hospital confirmed. Both doctors were fully vaccinated with three shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

One of the doctors, in his 50s, brought the variant into Israel on return from a medical conference in London. He tested negative when he boarded the airplane from the United Kingdom to Israel and on arrival, but a few days later began experiencing symptoms.

Jerusalem Post report


Israeli doctor believes he caught Omicron variant of Covid in London


Is Omicron another Plague Island export?



Image by ysn Benz from Pixabay

Community spread of Omicron in Israel – seven suspected infected, only four are travellers

The Israeli Health Ministry says there are currently seven people in Israel suspected of having contracted the Omicron coronavirus variant, in addition the one confirmed case announced yesterday.

Of them, four are unvaccinated and three are vaccinated, the ministry says, with four having recently returned from travel abroad.

Times of Israel report


Israel: four potential Omicron cases flew in from Malawi, Jordan




Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay

Israel: four potential Omicron cases flew in from Malawi, Jordan

The South African Omicron variant was first discovered in Israel late Thursday night, according to reports released Friday morning by the Health Ministry. It was first detected in an individual who returned to Israel from Malawi. Two other cases of returnees from abroad were also later identified as suspicious. 

In all three cases, the travellers were vaccinated. According to media reports, one traveller was inoculated with three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, one with two shots of AstraZeneca and the other with two shots of Johnson & Johnson.

Later, another individual who entered Israel from Jordan was also found suspicious of infection with the variant.

Jerusalem Post report



Hundreds of passengers from South Africa were being held at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Friday after the Netherlands imposed new travel restrictions amid concerns over an aggressive mutation of the Covid-19 virus.

Two flights from South Africa, one from Cape Town and one from Johannesburg, landed Friday late morning local time at Schiphol, an airport spokesman said. The passengers had to remain on board the flight while a separate, secure location in the airport was being located and are waiting to be tested, he said.


Omicron variant: first European case of B.1.1.529 found in Belgium via Egypt and Turkey

Image by Tobias Rehbein from Pixabay

Isreal: 11% of kids who got coronavirus now suffer from Long Covid

More than 10 percent of Israeli children who were diagnosed with the coronavirus show signs of suffering from long COVID, the Israeli Health Ministry announced Monday.

According to the data, gathered from a follow-up survey of parents of 13,864 children aged 3-18 who had recovered from the virus, 11.2% reported symptoms of long COVID.  Of those who reported long-term symptoms, 1.8% of children under 12 and 4.6% of those aged 12 to 18 were still suffering from symptoms six months after the illness, the survey found, noting that the probability increased with age.

Among those 12 to 18, chances of long COVID were higher among those who had coronavirus symptoms. However, researchers also found long COVID even among 3.5% of the children who were asymptomatic when they tested positive.

TimesofIsrael report


Millions of British schoolkids have been infected with Covid since the pandemic began, 400,000 kids were infected in British schools in September alone. The long covid case rate in Britain for children could be around 40,000 plus cases in September alone.


Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far



Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

Israel: 7% of serious Covid cases have had three vaccine shots

Some 7% of Israel’s serious and critical COVID-19 cases were vaccinated with three shots of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data released Friday morning by the Israeli Health Ministry. Another 17% were vaccinated with two shots more than six months ago, according to the data.

“I cannot say that 7% is a lot,” Health Minister Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash told The Jerusalem Post. “The vaccine, even the third shot, does not work at 100%.” He said that there are always a small percentage of people who do not develop full immunity, such as those who are immunosuppressed.”

Jerusalem Post article


Nearly 44% of eligible Israelis have been vaccinated with a third “booster” dose of Covid-19 vaccine


Israel: 150 children treated for long Covid in one clinic, hundreds more on waiting list

“What’s interesting, is that in some of the children, it really appears as a direct continuation of severe illness but in very many of the children, there is a severe illness, followed by a lull of several months and only then do the symptoms of long COVID begin,” says Ashkenazi-Hoffnung.

There are “a few children here who, a year after the illness, haven’t recovered, and they have symptoms that are affecting their day-to-day functioning. There are cases in which it lasts for more than a year.” article


UK: start to pandemic “worst public health failure ever” – a failure that is still ongoing


Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

Israel: Hospital acquired infections despite full PPE, N-95 mask, face shield, gown and gloves

We have investigated a nosocomial COVID-19 outbreak involving the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant among a highly vaccinated population. The attack rate among exposed individuals reached 23.3% in patients and 10.3% in staff, with 96.2% vaccination rate among exposed individuals. Moreover, several transmissions probably occurred between two individuals both wearing surgical masks, and in one instance using full PPE, including N-95 mask, face shield, gown and gloves.

Although reports of breakthrough infections are increasing, this communication emphasises several points. It challenges the assumption that high universal vaccination rates will lead to herd immunity and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. This was probably true for the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 virus, but in the outbreak described here, 96.2% of the exposed population was vaccinated. Infection advanced rapidly (many cases became symptomatic within 2 days of exposure), and viral load was high. report: Nosocomial outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant in a highly vaccinated population, Israel, July 2021




Photo by CDC on Unsplash