Four vaccinated Israelis infected with Indian variant – Health Ministry

Written by on April 29, 2021

Four vaccinated Israelis have been infected with the Indian coronavirus variant, the Health Ministry reported on Thursday.

In total, some 41 cases of the variant have been found in Israel – 24 among people who returned from abroad and 17 that were infected in the country; not all of the local infections have been linked to the travelers.

Also, among those infected are five children, the Health Ministry said. The Home Front Command is undergoing extensive sampling in the children’s schools.   

 

The Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim sent a message to the community informing them that two of the students were from the area. The message said that these were two isolated cases of infection that occurred about two weeks ago, and no further active morbidity has been recorded since. 

There is fear that the variant might be at least partially vaccine resistant, leading Health Ministry officials to request the government stop Israelis traveling to and from India except on rare occasions. The government was meant to vote on a plan to tighten controls at the airport on Tuesday night at its cabinet meeting, but ran out of time before discussing it.

Most of the cases have entered Israel from India, but some have entered via other countries. All of the people who arrived with the variant had boarded their airplanes with proof that they were negative for COVID-19.

The Health Ministry stressed there is still no clear information regarding the Indian variant’s implications for vaccinated or recovered people.

Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, told the Post that he believes it is too early to be too alarmed by the variant. 

He said that the Pfizer vaccine is likely effective against the variant at least to some extent “because the key mutations in the spike protein are known mutations that appear in other variants, and we know that the vaccines are effective against them. So, we cannot be certain, but I think that it is quite likely that the vaccines will work on the Indian variant.”

In addition to the Indian variant, the ministry discovered eight new cases of the South African variant, seven New York, two California, one of a new British variant and one from Saint Petersburg. 

The Health Ministry said it wanted to remind the public to avoid unnecessary travel abroad.

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