Israel's Unvaccinated 17% Now Account for Nearly Half of COVID Deaths

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The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, this week.
The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, this week.Credit: Haaretz
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Haaretz

The number of coronavirus patients in serious condition has remained stable, according to data released by Israel's Health Ministry on Friday.

There are 658 patients in serious condition, compared to 654 a day earlier. Unvaccinated Israelis – who account for 17 percent of the population eligible for a vaccine – make up about two-thirds of the total number of serious cases.

Meanwhile, more than 3 million people in Israel have received a third COVID shot, according to the Health Ministry. 

A panel of independent expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is holding a debate whether Americans should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 3,008,511 people in Israel have gotten the booster shot.

There are 658 patients in serious condition, compared to 654 a day earlier. Unvaccinated Israelis – who account for 17 percent of the population eligible for a vaccine – make up about two-thirds of the total number of serious cases.

The difference is even more pronounced when booster shots are taken into account. In the over-60 age group, 222 of patients in serious condition are unvaccinated, while 101 have received two doses of the vaccine and 46 have received a booster shot. Among those under 60 who are in serious condition, 200 are unvaccinated, 49 have received two doses, and seven have received a booster shot.

The death toll has reached 7,465, with 703 people dying in the past month, 322 of them unvaccinated.  

The rate of positive tests on Thursday was 6.33 percent, up from 5.93 percent, and 3,121 new cases were diagnosed. The number of tests was relatively low, however – about 54,000 – because testing sites were closed for Yom Kippur.

The R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will go on to infect, and which is calculated based on data from 10 days prior, dipped to 1.05 from 1.14. An R number above one means an outbreak is growing.

According to a new Israeli study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, coronavirus vaccine booster shots increase protection from infection over tenfold in those over 60. 

The study used data on 1.14 million Israelis aged 60 and up who had received two doses of the vaccine by the end of August. It divided cases into two groups: one consisting of people who received two doses of the vaccine, and another consisting of people who received a third dose. The researchers found that at least 12 days after the booster shot, the rate of infection in the non-booster group was 11.4 higher than the booster group, while their rate of severe illness was 19.5 times higher.

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