Head of vaccination program: Fourth lockdown still possible

The head of the Magen Yisrael vaccination program says that vaccination is the key to avoiding a fourth lockdown.

Shlomo Witty ,

מטופלים במחלקת קורונה
מטופלים במחלקת קורונה
צילום: יונתן זינדל, פלאש 90

Tomer Lotan, head of the Magen Israel vaccination project, knows that the current lockdown will not be able to continue for more than a week, and yet he estimates that the spread of the disease will still be worrying when it’s over.

"We are at a point that is probably after the peak and we are starting to see more signs that in most indices there is a downward decline. This decline is slower and longer than before. The main difficulty is the number of severely hospitalized patients. We expect it to continue. This is due to the presence of the British mutation, which makes everything a little more difficult," Lotan told Arutz Sheva.

"The dilemma we are in is that on the one hand, we all want to return to routine - we have been without fully functioning jobs, the education system, and other large sessions of the economy. On the other hand, being too hasty to reopen the economy bring the number of new cases back up. "What we are doing these days is preparing for the day after. I assume that later this week there will be a cabinet meeting where some of the options under consideration will be brought to vote.”

Regarding the extension of the quarantine, he says, "I think that extending the quarantine in its full and absolute format will be difficult and not necessarily a good idea.”

Regarding rumors of the existence of an Israeli mutation, "I think this story is out of proportion. There is no Israeli mutation. It is also worth mentioning that the mutations are developing in the thousands and it is possible that Israel also has a local model of COVID-19, but this is not our concern. We are not afraid of an ‘Israeli mutation’, certainly not more than other mutations we’ve heard of recently.”

"It is mainly the South African and Brazilian strain that has us worried. There is currently no evidence that they are more dangerous or resistant to the vaccine, but the issue needs to be examined further. The third wave is bigger than the second wave and therefore phenomena we saw in previous waves are greater. We need to be patient and understand that we have a very significant tool to fight the plague and that is vaccines. We have the ability to vaccinate, and that should help us return to normal quickly.”

"The virus is deceptive, complex, and very sophisticated. I do think one of the important elements in answering the question is whether we should vaccinate children. There are experiments in progress, and no doubt if they are vaccinated it will change the picture completely.”

Asked if there is a possibility of a fourth lockdown, he replied, "The answer mostly depends on how much we succeed in vaccinating the adult population. This is the most important variable in the picture. Today we stand at about 80% immunization in people over 60. This is admirable, but it is not enough. The gap needs to be narrowed and that could be the difference between a fourth lockdown or not.”