On Wednesday, Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister of Israel, said that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine may be needed at some point if cases continue to increase. The top coronavirus official in the country warned that they may already be seeing the beginning of the fifth wave of the coronavirus. After analysis of the data from the Health Ministry, it became apparent that 9% of the cases that tested positive on Tuesday comprised of people who had received the third shot of the vaccine. This prompted Nitzan Horowitz to state that a fourth dose may be required.
However, most of the concerns are not focused on adults who have received a triple shot, but on children who have not been vaccinated as yet. Israel had begun its campaign of inoculating kids between the ages of 5 and 11 this week, due to signs pointing to rising rates of infections amongst children. In fact, some people have referred to the rise in infections in kids as the ‘children’s wave’. Salman Zarka, the coronavirus czar, who is leading the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said that he believes a new wave of infections has already begun in Israel.
Zarka said on Wednesday that they were no longer in between waves because a new one had already started. He said that when they had thought about the fifth wave, they hadn’t imagined cases increasing like this. Instead, everyone believed it would be a new variant imported from abroad and something similar to what is occurring in Europe. However, the increase that’s occurring in the country is too fast and too early. Zarka said that he didn’t want to call it the fifth wave, or any new wave for that matter. On Tuesday, the total number of new infections diagnosed was 605 and 76% of these patients were unvaccinated.
It remained unclear whether the 9% of the people who caught the disease had gotten infected after the two weeks that are required for the dose to take full effect. Horowitz said that despite the increasing number of infections, he didn’t believe it was a new wave. But, he went on to say that if a fifth wave was indeed starting, then it was essential to live alongside COVID-19 by vaccinating as many people as possible. According to media reports, the children’s vaccination campaign has had a slow start, as only 4% of the parents in Israel have made appointments.
The public health services department’s chief of staff, Ilana Gans said that 30,000 kids were scheduled for receiving the new coronavirus vaccine. The total number of kids eligible for the vaccine in Israel is around 1 million. Horowitz said that parents shouldn’t for getting their children vaccinated because the virus does not wait and it can be very dangerous for them. The virus has acute symptoms and long-term side effects amongst children, including anxiety, concentration problems and breathing difficulties. Surveys have indicated that there is a great deal of hesitation over getting children vaccinated.