Four fully-vaccinated Israelis have been infected with the Indian variant of COVID-19, which experts fear is one of the more contagious variants to appear.
Forty-one Israelis in all have caught the Indian variant of the coronavirus, 24 of whom recently returned from abroad (where they presumably came in contact with the virus). The other 17 had not left the country, nor had most of them come in contact with those returning from abroad.
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Israel Health Ministry, told Channel 13 News on Wednesday that there is concern the Indian variant will prove resilient to the Pfizer vaccine that has been administered to over 5 million Israelis.
Pfizer officials had earlier expressed “confidence” that their vaccine is effective against all variants of COVID-19, including the Indian. But Alroy-Preis said she had seen no research to prove that is true.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry is urging the government to restrict travel to and from India and other countries still experiencing high numbers of COVID infections, and to rethink an ambitious timetable for resuming tourism to the Jewish state.
Alroy-Preis also slammed the government for failing to place any restrictions on the mass gathering of Orthodox Jews in the Galilee on Thursday night to mark the festival of Lag B’Omer. Hundreds of thousands were expected to attend.