Health officials say Omicron may lead to herd immunity in Israel

© Reuters. On December 12, at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, a medical worker prepares to vaccinate 62-year-old Moshe Geva Rosso with the fourth dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, after the Israeli Ministry of Health approved the immunization Second booster for the under-functioning

Maya Lubel

JERUSALEM (Reuters)-The country’s top health official said on Sunday that as daily cases continue to climb, the surge in Omicron infections may enable Israel to achieve herd immunity.

The highly spread variant of Omicron has caused a surge in coronavirus cases worldwide. According to data from Reuters, the number of infected people worldwide hit a record high, with an average of more than 1 million cases detected every day between December 24 and 30. However, the death toll has not increased, which gives new variants less deadly hope.

It was not until late December that Israel avoided Omicron to a certain extent, but as the infection rate rises, the number of daily cases is expected to hit a record high in the next three weeks. The Director-General of the Ministry of Health Nachman Ash said this may lead to herd immunity.

“The price will be a large number of infections,” Ash told Radio 103FM. “In order to achieve herd immunity, the number must be very high. This is possible, but we don’t want to reach it through infection, we hope it happens because many people are vaccinated,” he said.

Herd immunity is the point at which people are protected from viruses through vaccination or people who have developed antibodies due to infections.

Approximately 60% of Israel’s 9.4 million people are vaccinated-almost everyone is vaccinated Pfizer (NYSE:)/BioNTech’s vaccine-According to the Ministry of Health, this means they have either already received three doses or recently received a second dose. But so far, hundreds of thousands of people who qualify for the third vaccination have not yet been vaccinated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel has recorded approximately 1.3 million coronavirus cases. But Eran Segal, a data scientist and government consultant at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said that by the end of January, when the Omicron wave subsides, it is likely that 2 to 4 million people will be infected.

Salman Zarka, head of the Ministry of Health’s Coronavirus Task Force, said that herd immunity is far from guaranteed.

“We have to be very cautious about this, especially given our experience over the past two years, we have seen people who have recovered (from the coronavirus) become infected again,” Zhaka told Ynet TV.

In the past ten days, the number of daily infections has more than quadrupled. Severe cases have also increased, but at a much lower rate, rising from about 80 to about 100.

Keeping a close eye on the serious morbidity, Ash is considering allowing people over 60 to receive the fourth dose of the vaccine, following approval last week for immunocompromised elderly and elderly in nursing homes.

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