Maccabi Healthcare Services announced on Monday evening that only 20 out of 128,600 of its patient-clients who received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine tested positive for the virus at least a week after having received the second and final dose.
The preliminary data is “very encouraging,” said Maccabi, one of Israel’s leading HMOs, noting that all 20 of those infected have experienced only mild symptoms and most of them were over the age of 55 and infected following exposure to a confirmed carrier.
Everybody wants their vote. But what do Israeli-Arab voters want? LISTEN to our podcast
More than 1 million people in Israel have received both doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 while some 2.7 million have received the first dose, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Monday.
But while the vaccination campaign is continuing at a fast pace, infection numbers are still high, despite an ongoing nationwide lockdown.
Several COVID-19 strains have been detected in Israel, such as the British, South African and Californian mutation. This led the government to shut down Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday, in a bid to curb a spread of the disease.
The lockdown will last until January 31, but could be extended for at least a month "to allow progress in the vaccination campaign," according to the head of Public Health Services, Sharon Elrai-Price.
She said the current assumption is that "the vaccine is effective for the majority of variants of the virus."
- Overcrowded and overwhelmed: Why Israel's current COVID-19 wave is the ‘worst yet’
- Effects of new coronavirus variants on children and expecting mothers still unclear, doctors say
- Coronavirus Israel live: Death toll hits 4,500 as cabinet mulls longer lockdown
Yuli Edelstein also proposed extending the nationwide lockdown Tuesday, saying "the figures are still high, and there isn't the notable drop that we saw in previous lockdowns after the R number dropped."
"We will request to extend the lockdown at least another week until we see a reduction in the number of patients in serious condition," Edelstein said.