Israeli officials are warning the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is less effective against the Delta variant.
“We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. In April, FBA reported, “Israel has been praised for its efficient vaccine distribution efforts, with half of the population, almost 5 million people, fully vaccinated. Pfizer is the most common vaccine used in Israel and is therefore setting a global precedent.”
Now, over 60 percent of the population is inoculated, however, Israel has experienced an uptick in Delta variant cases in vaccinated individuals. According to the Israeli Health Ministry, the popular Pfizer vaccine was 64 percent protective against infections in June, compared to 94.3 percent in May, prior to the Delta variant’s surge.
Ran Balicer, chairman of Israel’s national expert panel on COVID-19, said it was “too early to precisely assess vaccine effectiveness.” Over a quarter of cases in the US are of the Delta COVID-19 variant, and vaccine producers have suggested a third booster shot will increase effectiveness. “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”
Over time, antibodies from vaccines naturally wane, therefore becoming less effective. Thus far, COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine trials suggest antibodies remain effective for at least six months. Although, the vaccine’s strength against new variants including Beta and Delta has yet to be sufficiently studied.