© ReutersThe report adds the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing serious illness has also dropped and now stands at 91%. The efficacy in preventing hospitalizations among vaccinated now stands at 88%. Preparing to administer the COVID vaccine in Tel Aviv
The Health Ministry reported Thursday the efficacy of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine in preventing infection has dropped to 39% but the effectiveness in preventing severe illness still remains relatively high.

Comment: Even without the vaccine, the majority of people will not develop severe illness from the coronavirus.

These figures were published three weeks after Ynet first revealed the decline in the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant.

The strain appears to be responsible for the surge in COVID cases around the country despite Israel's rapid inoculation campaign that saw over 5.7 million Israelis receive the first jab, and over 5.2 million receive the booster shot.

Comment: Note that correlation of the surge in infections and the mass vaccination campaign; similar outbreaks occurred in other parts of the world where vaccination uptake increased.

Among those who received both doses of the vaccine and were considered fully immune to the pathogen, 5,770 have been recently diagnosed with COVID after 1,152,914 tests had been conducted.

Of those fully inoculated who had tested positive for COVID, some 495 patients were hospitalized, 334 were hospitalized in a serious condition, and 123 died.

Two days ago, the Health Ministry said it had recorded a sharp decline in vaccine's efficacy after receiving data from a recent analysis. Data from the analysis suggested the efficacy of the vaccine declines over time in preventing infection and severe illness.

Comment: This may be partly due to 'antigenic escape', whereby viruses mutate in order to evade vaccines or the immune system, akin to antibiotic resistance, and was a predictable outcome.

Despite reports of vaccine's declining efficacy rates, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday slammed Israelis who refuse to get vaccinated, saying they are "hurting all of us".

"Our challenge is clear - all Israelis who can be vaccinated must be vaccinated," Bennett said during a press conference at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The recent spread of the Delta variant is believed to have been caused by a breach at Ben Gurion Airport - Israel's only port of entry - which saw thousands enter Israel without undergoing COVID tests upon landing and entering isolation.

This is coupled with the fact that children below the age of 12 largely remain vulnerable to the pathogen due to not being eligible to receive the vaccine.