Data from the Ministry of Health shows that among Israelis aged 60 and over, there are 16.6 people per 100,000 in serious condition. Among the unvaccinated, the figure is 98.5. (There were 394 people in serious condition across the country as of Tuesday morning, the ministry said.)
Israel is grappling with a major peak in COVID-19, and coronavirus czar Salman Zarka on Tuesday said the country was at a “critical point.”
Like other countries facing the Delta variant, Israel has experienced a decline in the vaccine’s effectiveness, with the health ministry announcing in early July that it was now 64% effective in preventing infection, while efficiency rates were previously in the 90s.
But the key endpoint is serious illness, and experts say the latest statistics paint an encouraging picture.
“They show very clearly that despite the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant, the vaccine still works and prevents serious illness,” Professor Nadav Katz, coronavirus statistician at Hebrew University, told The Times of Israel.
“It’s important to show this graph. This shows how extremely effective the vaccine is at preventing morbidity, ”Katz said.
In the graph below, the blue line shows how many unvaccinated people are in serious condition per 100,000 population, and the dark green line shows people who are fully vaccinated. Light green refers to partially vaccinated people,
This graph, compiled by the Israeli Ministry of Health, shows the number of severe cases of COVID in those over 60 by date, per 100,000 people. The left axis indicates the number of people. The top row shows unvaccinated people, the bottom row shows fully vaccinated people. The bottom line represents partially vaccinated people.
People under 60 feel the benefits of vaccines to prevent serious illness, as do those over this age. For every 100,000 people under the age of 60 who are not vaccinated, 1.6 are in serious condition with the coronavirus. Among those fully vaccinated, the figure is 0.5.
The statistics come as the Israeli government struggles to convince the 1.1 million citizens eligible for vaccines, but fails to get vaccinated that they should.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken out harshly against vaccine refusals, and ministers are reportedly considering financial incentives to get them to get vaccinated. They are believed to be of the view that convincing the many adolescents who do not get vaccinated but are at significant risk as vectors of infection would be an effective way to prevent another lockdown.
Vaccine resistant tend to be young, with a particularly high concentration among those under 30.
Data on immunization levels in different localities further highlight lower participation in Arab and ultra-Orthodox areas.
Nationally, some 90.2% of Israelis aged 90 and over are vaccinated with at least two injections, and for the 80-89 age group the figure is 91.5%. It is even higher, 93.1%, for people aged 70. But rates are falling among younger age groups: 87.2% for those in their 60s; 84.6 for people in their fifties and 81.2% for people in their forties.
For Israelis in their 30s and 20s, the rates are 77.8% and 72.4%, respectively. The 16-19 age group is only 68% vaccinated, and only 26.2% of 12-15 year olds are fully vaccinated.
“The low vaccination rate among young people suggests that parents who may have vaccinated themselves are more reluctant to have their adolescents vaccinated,” Katz said. He also observed that the younger the people, the more they see the risk COVID-19 poses to their health, and therefore the lower the enthusiasm for vaccines.
In each age group, there is a difference of a few percent between people who are fully vaccinated and those who received a first injection but did not receive a second.
Katz said the data on critical illness rates should encourage these people to continue, as it suggests people are compromising their protection by not showing up for a second dose.
Among those over 60, the partially vaccinated have 39.9 severe cases per 100,000, higher than 16.6 for the vaccinated but well below 98.5 for the unvaccinated.
The critically ill number for those under 60 years of age is too low to allow accurate analysis, although generally the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated were more likely to be in serious condition than the fully vaccinated.
“The indication here is that it is highly recommended to go all the way and do a second shot as it increases protection,” Katz said.