By Pablo Duer
Jerusalem, Aug 23 (EFE).- A world-leading vaccine rollout saw Israel hastily strip back its Covid-19 restrictions and return to a semblance of normality while other nations were mired in waves of infections, but the progress has it a major hurdle partly due to the fact that more than a million adults are refusing the shot.
Over the last two months, Israel has faced a fourth wave of Covid-19 with infections hitting 8,000 per day on average.
This surge has been fueled by the spread of the Delta variant, the rapid lifting of restrictions, a decline in levels of immunity among the vaccinated and the refusal by roughly 1.1 million adults to take the vaccine.
Having hit a 5-million milestone in mid-March, the number of fully-vaccinated people in Israel suddenly flatlined at around 5.5 million.
According to health ministry data, 20% of adults between 20-50 are refusing the vaccine, as are 15% of 50 to 70-year-olds and 10% of over-70s.
Although the number of vaccinated Israelis far outweighs the non-vaccinated, the fourth wave of Covid-19 has affected both groups.
There are currently 670 serious cases of Covid-19 in Israel, including 104 patients requiring ventilation.
Nadav Davidovitch, director of the Ben Gurion University’s public health school and a government advisor on the pandemic, tells Efe: “People that are high risk and not vaccinated are now the main reason for the burdening of the (health) system.”
Another government advisor, Bishara Bisharat, tells Efe: “The unvaccinated had a very important role at the beginning of the fourth wave.