Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv
Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel AvivEitan Elhadez / TPS

Israel’s campaign to promote the coronavirus vaccine – now focusing on young teens – is going full steam ahead, in spite of statistics presented by government officials showing that half of those recently infected with Covid-19 were fully vaccinated, Behadrey Haredim reports.

Head of Public Health Services, Dr. Sharon Alray-Price, revealed the disturbing facts at a media presentation on Wednesday. According to her data, of the 891 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the last month alone, half had received both doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.

According to a report on Channel 12, in the months since the vaccines were rolled out, 6,765 people who received both shots have contracted coronavirus, and epidemiological tracing has revealed that an additional 3,133 people contracted Covid-19 from those vaccinated individuals. The 6,765 represent a little more than one percent of the total number of those vaccinated, which now stands at over 5,100,000.

It is clear that officials were already aware that the vaccine does not provide sufficient protection, as quarantine regulations for those returning from abroad have recently been changed, requiring even those fully vaccinated to self-isolate upon return from certain countries.

In addition, military intelligence has been warning of such a scenario at least since January, when a report was published that suggested a mass vaccination campaign would lead to vaccine-resistant strains of Covid-19 emerging.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a panel of experts together with the heads of the various health service organizations in the country.

“Our aim at the present moment, first and foremost, is to protect Israeli citizens from the Delta strain that is running amok around the world,” Bennett said at the meeting. “As we do so, we will endeavor to limit the impact this has on daily life in Israel. Therefore, we have decided to take immediate action in order to avoid paying a heavier price at a later stage. It all depends on us. If we are meticulous in adhering to the guidelines and behaving responsibly, we will overcome this – together.”

The Prime Minister then ordered officials to craft their decisions in a wholly transparent manner, based on the statistics, and using the following guidelines:

1) A national campaign to vaccinate everyone over the age of 12 is to be launched, with a parallel public information campaign to stress the importance of the vaccine.

2) The system previously used to cut off chains of transmission is to be restarted, in collaboration with local authorities, with additional resources allocated, in order to contain the spread of outbreaks at the earliest possible stage.

3) In the event that an average of 100 or more new cases are diagnosed daily for a week, the requirement to wear face masks will be re-imposed in enclosed areas. Even though this stage has yet to be reached, the Health Ministry’s current advice is for people to begin wearing face masks again.

4) Government departments whose work is related to containing the spread of the coronavirus will enhance their activities as necessary.

5) An information campaign to encourage vaccination and stress the importance of adhering to quarantine regulations is to commence on Thursday.

6) Enforcement of quarantine regulations for confirmed cases is to be enhanced, and harsher penalties exacted.

7) The Magen Avot program (in residential homes) is to be resumed immediately, with a target of conducting 10,000 Covid-19 tests per day.

8) The number of tests conducted in the general public per day is to be increased; the Prime Minister noted that there will be an unlimited budget allocated toward this end.

9) Regulations related to Ben Gurion airport are to be extended to all other portals of entry into the country.

10) All those traveling abroad will be required to sign a declaration before leaving, attesting that they will not be visiting any country where the risk of contracting coronavirus is deemed high.

11) The ban on tourists entering the country will be extended for another month, from July 1st to August 1st, with the exception of organized groups.