Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)
Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)iStock

Initial data from Israel's Health Ministry shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine successfully prevents severe infections.

The Health Ministry data, published Wednesday night by Kan 11, shows a drop in the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients in comparison to last year.

The Ministry compared the number of seriously ill patients over the age of 40 in June 2020 and June 2021. Last year, 5.9% of patients were seriously ill, compared to 3.4% this year - a drop of almost half. However, the Ministry is waiting for July's data to examine whether this is a trend or an isolated incident.

Quotes from the Coronavirus Cabinet meeting, as reported by Kan 11, shed light on the considerations which led to the caution Israel is currently using with regards to enacting restrictions. Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) said during the discussion that "there are branches of industry which have not yet recovered from the previous rounds, and the very fact we are holding this discussion deals them another critical blow. We must not act as we did last year, as if there were no vaccines here."

Culture and Sport Minister Hili Tropper (Blue and White) said: "There are areas of culture that only opened a few weeks ago, and we need to make sure that we have the infrastructure to enforce and to live alongside the restrictions. The previous government lost the public's faith mostly because the decisions did not come with the infrastructure to allow these restrictions."

Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen (Blue and White) said that there needs to be a complete plan which allows for testing at large events, alongside the continuation of the vaccination campaign, especially for children.

"If at this time we do not create an effective plan to vaccinate hundreds of thousands, we will not achieve our goal," she said.