Almost half of adults infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Israel were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday.
Israel’s health authorities found that about 90 percent of the new infections were most likely caused by the Delta variant, Ran Balicer, an expert who leads an advisory panel on COVID-19 for the government, told WSJ.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India in late 2020, contains mutations that have made it more transmissible. A study by Public Health England (PHE) found that the Delta strain was 50 to 60 percent more transmissible than COVID-19’s Alpha variant.
Meanwhile, children under the age of 12 – most of whom were not yet vaccinated – accounted for almost half of the infections.
The outbreak prompted the Israeli government to reimpose the mask-wearing rule, as well as other COVID-19 curbs, to contain the spread of the Delta variant.
The requirement to wear masks indoors was removed a couple of weeks ago but the government decided to reverse that decision to cope with the highly transmissible strain.
“The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transmission dynamics,” WSJ quoted Balicer as saying.
The country was leading one of the world’s fastest and most effective immunization campaigns, with around 80 percent of adults (above 16 years old) vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
According to COVID-19 data from Reuters, Israel’s daily infections currently average at around 124. As of Sunday, the country’s total diagnosed cases and COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic’s onset sit at 840,638 and 6,249 respectively.
Israel’s vaccination drive averaged at about 5,182 doses administered per day. If the country continues to vaccinate at this rate, it would take a further 350 days to administer enough doses to another 10 percent of its population, Reuters reported.