Nearly 60% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Israel fully vaccinated, data shows

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Of 514 patients in Israel hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Aug. 15, 59 percent were fully vaccinated, according to an Aug. 16 article from Science that cited national data tracked by Israel's largest health management organization. The figures suggest breakthrough infections may be more common than the term implies, the report suggests. 

Most of the vaccinated patients who were hospitalized, about 87 percent, were at least 60 years old. 

"This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of the world," said Ran Balicer, CIO at Clalit Health Services, Israel's largest health maintenance organization. "If it can happen here, it can probably happen anywhere," he told Science

The country has one of the world's highest COVID-19 vaccination levels, with about 78 percent of those ages 12 and older fully vaccinated, mostly with the Pfizer vaccine. At the same time, Israel now has one of the highest infection rates in the world, potentially a sign of waning vaccine immunity as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, Science reports.

In response, Israel began administering booster doses to people ages 60 and older July 30. The country has since expanded booster dose eligibility to Israelis who are at least 50 years old. 

Given the large number of fully vaccinated Israelis, some breakthrough cases were expected, health officials say, and a growing body of research has shown those who are unvaccinated face far higher risks of severe illness or death from a COVID-19 infection. 

 

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