Israel Contemplating Fifth Vaccine as Number of New Infections Rises

A staff member pulls out patient medication in the coronavirus ward in Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Yerushalayim. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo))

Israel’s health system is contemplating the administration of a fifth COVID vaccine, as the number of new cases has risen significantly in recent days.

The corona project manager, Professor Salman Zarqa, stated on Wednesday at the 2042 Medicine Conference in Tel Aviv that “unfortunately, it seems that we are starting a new corona wave in Israel, the BA.5 wave; we are considering giving a fifth vaccine.”

The BA.5 is a sub-lineage of the omicron variant. BA.5 was first detected in South Africa in February 2022, and has since become the dominant variant there together with the BA.4.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stated in May that the observed growth advantage for BA.5 is likely due to its ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time.

Fearing a sixth wave of infections in the country, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is slated to convene a special meeting on the issue on Wednesday evening.

According to the Health Ministry’s data, a very high 20.38% of the COVID tests performed Tuesday returned positive, with 4,585 new cases.

The R coefficient, which indicates the spread of the virus, was registered in Israel at 1.19 on Wednesday, pointing to a spread of the virus.

Over 19,019 Israelis tested positive over the past week, a 27.7% increase over the week before that.

Minister Omer Barlev tested positive for the virus on Monday, as well as MKs Gilad Kariv, Alon Tal and Orit Strock.

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