Israel has already vaccinated 56.28% of its population. Its National Institute of Science has reported, since last January, an astonishing decrease in the 96% of cases in all age groups, 90% in critical patients and 85% in deaths since last January.
This is good news, certainly, but Can we assure you that this is what will happen in the rest of the countries? Spoiler: no.
Not all success comes down to vaccination
Israel has become the fastest country to vaccinate its population. After inoculating all doses purchased from Pfizer in a population of 9 million, is already working on a new agreement with the company, with which it aims to obtain 36 million more doses. Specifically, 5.27 million Israelis over the age of 16 have received a first dose, while 4.84 million have received a second injection.
In the following graph we can see the decrease in cases in Israel thanks to vaccination levels with Pfizer-BioNTech:
If we break down this success, we can reduce it to three basic points on which the decline is based:
Those vaccinated have a very low probability of becoming ill with coronavirus. After having received a dose of the vaccine, the vaccinated have a lower viral load and, therefore, there is also less chance of transmitting the virus. Pfizer’s vaccine not only protects the vaccinated, but provides “cross protection” the rest of the population, according to a study conducted at the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel and published in Nature Medicine. That is, if children are not vaccinated, as is happening now, it does not matter: the more widespread the vaccination is among adults, children are less likely to catch it. Specifically, for every 20 point increase in vaccinated adults in a community, the risk of minors testing positive is cut in half.
Nevertheless, there are other factors not strictly linked to vaccines that should also be taken into account, which would also explain that in countries with high percentages of vaccination these spectacular decreases are not experienced (even that there are setbacks, as is happening in Chile).
First, containment measures have been progressively relaxed, after a very strict confinement, and the country continues to be closed. Ben-Gurion International Airport will also remain practically closed but the return of Israelis who are still abroad and want to return home has been eventually approved.
The government of Israel also has a culture of improbable thesis analysis in place, even having an office called the office of the “devil’s advocate” (Devil’s Advocate office), where the theses opposed to those accepted are studied in order to be prepared for eventualities and have the maximum number of parameters under control.
Vaccines are not only effective: they are a sine qua non to successfully emerge from this pandemic. Nevertheless, it’s not all about vaccines, because other variables also come into play, such as the behavior of society. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare ourselves for a slow de-escalation, taking into account the evolution of the data. It will be the quickest and least traumatic way to achieve the desired group immunity.