Since the start of February, various press have reported that the people of Israel are the most vaccinated in the word by a large margin against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. One should expect that the daily case average in this economically advanced Mediterranean nation should exhibit a rapidly improving situation when counting daily new COVID-19 cases averages. With 72% of the Israeli population vaccinated as compared to about 14% in the United States. But recent data from Paul Elkins, a supporter of TrialSite, reveals that daily new case counts in Israel are not declining at nearly the rate that they are presently in the U.S. or United Kingdom, for example. Again, with 72% of the population now vaccinated, a marked decrease in cases should be expected—about 40% vaccination immunity to be exact. A daily cases average that doesn’t start immediately dropping now merits some investigation.
With a high natural infection history (Worldometers reports 78,758/1 million confirmed cases), if one applied a number of 5x for actual cases (asymptomatic cases and incomplete testing covered) that number would spike to 393790/1 million. That’s 39% of the population that should possibly exhibit natural immunity.
Now taking the Israeli vaccination, percentages from three weeks ago (Israeli data recently demonstrated that after 21 days vaccine efficacy was over 90% even after just one shot) the nation’s vaccination percent was 40%. Applying this math, the new cases showing up today are a consequence of approximately 79% of the population immunity using a very efficacious vaccine.
By some accounts, this should have been sufficient to approach that magical herd immunity triggering an absolute plummet in COVID-19 cases. However, this unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case. Certainly, some of the so-called natural immunity population may overlap with the vaccinated immunity population. Consequently, this could lower the three week lagging immunity figures from 79% down to approximately 60-65%. While not enough for herd immunity, it should be enough to influence a significant reduction in the daily new cases.
While this is cause for concern, perhaps it is not alarming yet that the next couple weeks represent an important stretch of time as another 33% of the Israeli population build immunity 21 days post vaccination. These next few weeks should usher marked reduction in daily new cases in Israel. It would be a sobering thought to think that the U.S. would need to experience vaccination numbers significantly higher than 60% before there is much relief—other than what appears to be a decline in part due to greater adherence to key social distancing, mask wearing and other protective measures. Of particular concern in the United States are significantly large percentages of subgroups that are hesitant or outright will not accept a vaccine, from certain subgroups within ethnic minorities to various so called “antivax” contingents.
Recent Study Positive
On the other hand, a recent study involving the country’s largest healthcare provider shows a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among the 600,000 individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Also Clalit, an HMI covering half of the nation, reports the group vaccinated is 92% less likely to succumb to severe illness due to COVID-19.
Call to Action: TrialSite and great supporters such as Paul Elkins continue to monitor these numbers. Hopefully, the health system positive data leads directly to marked decline in cases. Again, Israel’s daily new cases should be headed significantly down within a couple weeks; otherwise, something is not right.