Only one of 61 Israelis hospitalized with COVID in serious condition is a fully vaccinated individual under the age of 60, Channel 12 news reported Sunday, citing Health Ministry figures.
According to the report, 24 of those in serious condition are unvaccinated, while 37 are fully vaccinated. The lone seriously ill fully vaccinated person under 60 was in the 50-59 age group.
No fully vaccinated individuals under age 50 were in serious condition.
Meanwhile, among the unvaccinated, 14 people under age 50 were in serious condition, two of whom were younger than 40.
As to the question of why, in the over-60 group, the majority of seriously ill were vaccinated, the report noted that most people in the age group are vaccinated, and so that population is likely to get more representation. It is also possible that unvaccinated individuals have been more cautious than those who felt protected by the vaccines.
More than 56 percent of all Israelis are fully vaccinated, and more than 90% of those over age 60 have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
As of Sunday afternoon, there were 6,598 active COVID cases in Israel, with 121 hospitalized, 61 in serious condition and 14 on ventilators. Sixteen people have died of COVID in the country since the beginning of July.
The number of Israelis with COVID in serious condition has ticked up over the past month as the ultra-contagious Delta variant takes hold in the country. One month ago, there were just 19 serious cases in the country; Sunday’s figure of 61 is the highest in two months. At its peak in late January, there were more than 1,000 serious cases.
The Delta variant is believed to be more successful in bypassing the COVID vaccines than previous strains of the virus. Health Ministry figures released in early July indicated that the Pfizer COVID vaccine is only 64% effective in preventing infection, but it remains 93% effective at preventing hospitalization and serious symptoms.
Some health officials cast doubt on these figures, noting that they were gathered only over a period of a month, and they maintain that the Pfizer vaccine is actually more effective against Delta than claimed. Nevertheless, Pfizer cited data from Israel in seeking authorization from the US Federal Drug Administration for a third booster dose of its vaccine.
Last week, Israel began administering booster doses to those with weakened immune systems, including heart, liver and kidney transplant patients, despite the lack of approval from overseas regulatory agencies. But Health Ministry officials have indicated that third doses for the general population are not imminent, stressing that the vaccine remains largely effective.