Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis
Dr. Sharon Alroy-PreisArutz Sheva

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, who heads the Health Ministry's Public Health Services, said that there is initial evidence that the coronavirus vaccine is less effective against the South African variant.

In an interview with Hadashot Hashabbat, Dr. Alroy-Preis said that a vaccine-resistant mutation is very worrying.

"We don't have evidence that any of the variants are completely resistant to the vaccine, but there is some initial evidence for saying that perhaps the effectiveness of the vaccine is somewhat reduced with the South African variant," she said. "We in Israel are doing tests and we are sampling it in labs and trying to see the effectiveness against it."

Earlier this week, Pfizer said that its vaccine - which is the only one currently in use in Israel - is effective against both the British and South African mutations, though it is slightly less effective against the South African mutation.

Meanwhile, Israel's Health Ministry is weighing canceling the exemptions from quarantine currently enjoyed by both recovered coronavirus patients and vaccinated individuals, due to concerns that these groups may transmit coronavirus to others, even if they do not fall ill with it.