The population of Israel has been looked upon of late as a global guinea pig of sorts given it was the first country out of the gate to implement a large-scale booster shot program for people 60 and up who've already been vaccinated with two rounds of the COVID-19 shot. This was announced only at the end of July, and the early data is beginning to trickle in.
Israel is considered to have among the world's highest vaccination rates, with 5.3 million of its citizens having been inoculated with two doses, with weeks ago headlines declaring it had reached 'herd immunity' - only for the headlines to give way to reports of the alarming rapid rise of breakthrough cases.
And now it appears that even the much touted COVID booster shot could be failing to protect: "Internal Health Ministry data shows that 14 Israelis have been infected with COVID-19 a week after receiving a booster shot, Channel 12 news reports," The Times of Israel writes Sunday.
Already over the weekend Israeli media is reporting that "serious cases" have hit a four month high, with over 324 patients hospitalized, many of them in critical condition.
It was only a little over a week ago that elderly Israelis began receiving the third shot, and so "early results" and observations have only now begun to come in, and it's not looking good. The Times of Israel continues in its breaking report:
The network says 11 of those infected are over the age of 60 — two of whom have now been hospitalized — while the other three got their third dose because they are immunocompromised.
If confirmed in larger samples, the figures could cast doubt on the effectiveness of the booster shot, which Israel has started administering before major health bodies around the world have approved it.
Channel 12 noted that the confirmed new infections were revealed based on tests performed one week after the group had received the third shot. Three of the above are being described as "younger patients".
This comes as the CDC and FDA have begun discussions on pushing forward with offering booster shots in the US - possibly as early as September, according to some reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says people are rushing to get a third vaccine shot as protection from the surging delta variant of the coronavirus. https://t.co/NhNEMu2fC3— WTOP (@WTOP) August 8, 2021
The Jerusalem Post has subsequently issued further details of the new 'post booster jab' cases as follows:
Of the 422,326 Israelis who have so far received their third dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, 14 have so far reportedly contracted the disease in tests performed one week after the shot, N12 reported on Sunday evening.
Of the 14 confirmed cases, 11, are over the age of 60, and 3 are younger patients who are at a greater risk due to immunosuppresive diseases. Two have so far been hospitalized.
So now even a third jab might be powerless amid the current Delta variant wave (and no doubt others to follow)?
ISRAEL: JUST IN: 14 Israelis got COVID a week after receiving their third vaccine (booster) shot. 11 of them are over 60, 2 of them hospitalized.— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) August 8, 2021
Regardless, Anthony Fauci, has already begun making the pitch for a third shot "reasonably soon" while making the rounds on the big Sunday shows...
"We need to look at them in a different light," Fauci said of boosters on CNN’s "Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday, according to Bloomberg. “We would certainly be boosting those people before we boost the general population that’s been vaccinated, and we should be doing that reasonably soon."
He began by noting the booster would first be made available for the immunocompromised and elderly (just like in Israel). "As soon as they see that level of durability of protection goes down, then you will see the recommendation to vaccinate those individuals," Fauci added.
Meanwhile USA Today wrote that "Some people are already taking the matter into their own hands, deciding to get extra doses – either a second or a third shot depending on which vaccine they got the first time. One doctor referred to the phenomenon on Twitter as 'booster mania.'"