Coronavirus Commissioner Not So Sure About PM’s 6-Month Prediction

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel’s Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Israel has been leading the world with its vaccine rollout, but public relations has lagged behind, as changes in health regulations have resembled a confusing blur, reflecting a bureaucracy frequently divided on coronavirus policy.

The public was given another mixed message, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏’s prediction on Tuesday of a second coronavirus vaccination drive in six months that will include children was disputed by his own coronavirus commissioner on Wednesday.

“Prepare your shoulders… and kids,” Netanyahu said during a press conference, saying that he expected the FDA would approve COVID-19 vaccines for use in children by then.

But Prof. Nahman Ash was not exactly on message, telling Army Radio: “I can’t say when we will get another vaccine [shot], perhaps in six months, perhaps in a year, perhaps even longer.”

He challenged the assumption that the vaccine shots issued so far will soon lose effectiveness, creating the need for a further round of doses in six months.

“If we see that the vaccine is surprisingly good and remains effective for a long time” and without any virus variants that pose new threats, “it could take more time” until Israelis need to get another shot, Ash said.

Addressing concerns over a new covid strain from India, he said that it will take a few weeks before scientists can determine the threat and whether current vaccines will suffice or not.