Israel’s coronavirus commissioner has criticized the Pfizer vaccine and warned that it may not protect against new strains of the virus.
During talks among Health Ministry officials ahead of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting on the issue of nationwide lockdown, Dr. Nachman Ash said that the protective effect of the first dose of the vaccine is “lower than Pfizer presented”, Army Radio reported.
Pfizer has previously claimed that trials of the vaccine it produced with BioNTech show it is roughly 52% effective around 12 days after the first shot is administered and becomes about 95% effective a number of days after the second dose.
The Israeli government signed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech in November for 8 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has ordered healthcare workers to prepare to administer up to 250,000 daily injections in the coming days.
At the same time, there were some issues reported during the mass vaccination in Israel. Last week, media reported citing health ministry officials, that at least 13 Israelis have suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after getting the Pfizer vaccine. The report said, however, that the country's health ministry recommended the patients should go ahead with the second sot of the vaccine, but only if the paralysis passes.
Earlier, some 240 Israelis have been diagnosed with the coronavirus days after being vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in Israel topped 10,000 on Tuesday morning - an all-time high since the pandemic began - despite lockdown measures and vaccination efforts.