Israel Relies Primarily on Pfizer and Moderna, Overlooking Other Jabs - Here's Why

© REUTERS / RONEN ZVULUNA man receives a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an IKEA store in Rishon Lezion, Israel February 22, 2021.
A man receives a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an IKEA store in Rishon Lezion, Israel February 22, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2022
For 2021-2022 the Jewish state has purchased 60 million doses of both inoculations, costing the country nearly $2 billion. But as the coronavirus kept developing, more and more started asking whether Israel should be trying out other products.
On Monday, Israel started administering a fourth dose to people above 60 and those with health problems, as daily coronavirus cases continue to sore.
Yesterday registered more than 6,500 new cases, a record high in the past several months. And experts are already ringing the alarm bells, saying Israel is galloping towards disaster.
Safe Protection?
However, the country has protection. Recently, it was reported that for the years 2021-2022 the Jewish state has purchased some 60 million doses, forking out around $2 billion.
Most of these vaccines are coming from the American Big Pharma manufacturer Pfizer. Some are provided by their competitor, Moderna, and Dr. Ian Miskin, a physician and infectious disease specialist, says the decision to go ahead with those two was dictated by their proven record.
"At the end of the day, we look at numbers. The more we use these vaccines, the more we see that they are actually working."
mRNA vaccines -- such as Pfizer and Moderna -- deliver a tiny piece of genetic code from the SARS CoV-2 virus to host cells in the body, giving them instructions to make copies of spike proteins.
Those proteins are aimed at stimulating an immune response, and producing antibodies that will respond if the body ends up being infected.
Trials of the two vaccines have shown that their efficacy was higher than 95, percent although it dropped to below 90 percent six months after its administration.
They also revealed that while the inoculations were effective against the Alpha and the Beta variants, with the Delta strain it showed less efficacy.
Israel to Check Other Options?
It was because of these studies that some in Israel started saying that the Jewish state should not rush to administer a fourth dose to its citizens. Instead, it should wait until Pfizer comes up with a more developed vaccine able to protect the population from all the possible variants of COVID-19.
Others have also said Israel should be eyeing other vaccinations too, including those produced in India and Russia.
So far, India has eight vaccines, two of which have been introduced lately to fight the Omicron strain. They use a spike protein similar to what COVID-19 has and once injected, it is expected to trigger a response in the body.
The Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, uses two harmless viruses that deliver the genetic code to our cells to make a protein from the coronavirus. More than 70 states recognise this vaccine, including all of Israel's neighbours, but Israel is not among them.
In October, it was reported that Israel would recognise the vaccine as a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin and would let Russian tourists who had gotten the jab enter Israel. But with the emergence of the Omicron strain, these plans have been put on hold for now.
"We have a big problem with the Russian vaccine," says Miskin. "The research was not transparent, and we don't know how much we can rely on it".
Russia has repeatedly argued that its vaccine is safe and effective. It proved to have no serious adverse effects or vaccination-related deaths. In addition, it produced protective neutralising antibody titers against such variants as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron and its high efficacy rates were confirmed by the Lancet, a leading medical journal.
Yet, despite this success, it hasn't yet received approval from either the World Health Organisation or from the European Medicines Agency, and many are asking why.
Some have already linked it to politics. For the West, the recognition of a Russian vaccine has become a tool to pressure Moscow, but Miskin says that he doubted that was the case in Israel.
"I doubt the decision was political. If it was, I don't know about it."
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