Israel Logs Indian COVID-19 Variant, Sees Some Vaccine Efficacy Against It

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Israel has registered eight cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India and believes that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is at least partially effective against it, a health official said on Tuesday.

An initial seven cases of the Indian variant were detected in Israel last week among people arriving from abroad and who have since undergone preliminary testing, the Health Ministry said.

“The impression is that the Pfizer vaccine has efficacy against it, albeit a reduced efficacy,” the ministry’s director-general, Chezy Levy, told Kan public radio, saying the number of cases of the variant in Israel now stood at eight.

Britain and Ireland have also said they are investigating the variant after detecting it within their borders.

Israel has fully vaccinated around 81% of citizens or residents over the age of 16. COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are down sharply.