Fauci: Israeli COVID-19 research on vaccine efficacy is deceptive.

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President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Monday that an Israeli report on the efficacy of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine against the South African strain is deceptive. He also mentioned that he would proceed with caution while drawing conclusions regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness against the version.

“With all due respect to my so-many Israeli friends, I think that that reprint — or preprint, as it were, was about as confusing as you possibly could be,” Fauci said. “The only thing that wasn’t confusing about that was that you probably need two doses, the way we’ve been saying, absolutely if you want to get protected and get greater protection, because you saw things shifted when you were one or two weeks beyond the second dose.  So that’s the first point.

“The second point is that I believe the misleading part about it is it made it seem like you were more likely to get the [B.1.]351 if, in fact, you were vaccinated against the mRNA,” he continued. “That wasn’t the case.  If you were going to get infected with anything, you would get infected with the more difficult variant, which was 351.  That doesn’t mean you have a greater chance of getting it, because when you went out into the post-vaccination period, you were really quite well protected.”

The power of the inoculation to protect people from contracting the virus is also used to explain the effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine. However, the ability of a vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalisation, and mortality is an important consideration in determining its efficacy.

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A real-world analysis published on Saturday by Clalit Health Services and Tel Aviv University in Israel found that the South African strain is more likely to overcome the vaccine’s preventive effect, even after two doses and more than a week has elapsed.

However, the study referred to the ability of the vaccine to prevent from infection, not from serious symptoms.

“What we do know, when these breakthrough infections do occur is they tend to occur with fewer symptoms, less virus — less transmissible virus,” added Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control during that same White House briefing. “We’re still learning about the transmissibility of this virus in the context of these breakthrough infections.  But I would say: Use your prevention measures when you’re outside the home, and I think you’re okay when you’re in the home.”

In an interview with FOX Television Stations also on Monday, Fauci explained that the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines still look to be effective at preventing serious illness and death.

“So what might happen is that when you get these new variants, some of them may not be protected against when you’re talking about mild-to-moderate disease, but at the same time, people are not going to get severely ill and wind up dying,” Fauci told Fox.

Israel has immunised over 5.3 million people with the Pfizer vaccine, the majority of whom received both doses.

However, the company suspended exports of coronavirus vaccines to Israel last week in protest of the government’s failure to pay for the last 2.5 million doses it shipped to the country.

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A cabinet meeting scheduled to approve the new deal was postponed due to squabbles between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. After Netanyahu refused to accept the permanent appointment of a justice minister, Gantz cancelled the meeting. The conference has not yet been rescheduled.

On Monday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein harshly criticized Gantz.“Gantz is committing a crime against the health of Israeli citizens. Minister Ganz jeopardizes Israel’s ability to receive vaccines that are essential for the continued functioning of the economy,” Edelstein said.

“His puzzling refusal to purchase the vaccines has persisted even after Gantz and his people received all the explanations for their questions from Health Ministry’s professionals. It turns out that this was a cynical game and a waste of valuable time for the citizens of Israel. He had no intention of allowing the vaccines to be purchased, and everything else was an excuse. The serious health and economic consequences of not purchasing the vaccines will be on his hands.”

“Likud ministers and first and foremost Edelstein have become accomplices in the crime of a criminal trying to escape his trial,” Blue and White responded in a statement. “If Edelstein really cared about the citizens of Israel he would have fought both for the appointment of a justice minister and also for the approval of a budget for additional vaccines.”

In a press conference last week, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said that Israel has enough doses to vaccinate about one million adults who have yet to be vaccinated, but not enough to vaccinate infants.

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