The world has experienced over 184 million reported cases of COVID-19 since the start of the global pandemic. Experts believe that the delta variant, which has rapidly been spreading around the world, is twice as contagious as the original strain of COVID-19, and is thought to be responsible for 90% of new cases in Israel over the past few weeks.
The country has found that the Pfizer vaccine, which has been used by most Israelis, is only 64% effective in preventing COVID-19 as the delta variant becomes more prevalent. In May, when the variant was less widespread, the data showed that the vaccine was 94.3% effective. The Health Ministry believes that the vaccine continues to be effective against preventing serious symptoms and hospitalization. Still, researchers have warned that at least 70% of the world’s population must be vaccinated in order to prevent new variants.
In Russia, for example, the country has experienced 728 deaths in a single day, as AFP reported. The Prime Minister in Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel has been hospitalized with COVID-19 after testing positive and showing low oxygen levels in his blood. The prime minister’s current medical condition is considered serious, but stable, according to The Guardian.
Israel faces disturbance as its stockpile of Pfizer vaccines is expected to expire at the end of July and as researchers suspect a rise in the delta variant in the upcoming weeks. Last Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has held several conversations in recent days with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to negotiate the next shipment of the vaccine or a swap deal with another country for Israel’s expiring doses.
The country is reportedly going to start using its Moderna stockpile for those over 18 once the Pfizer doses expire. They are also considering giving a second dose of the Moderna vaccine to people who received the first dose from Pfizer.
Until then, researchers are urging government officials to create stronger enforcement of the indoor mask requirement, mandate vaccination rates, and a return to the Green Pass system, which limits access to some venues and events to only those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from the illness.