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Israel’s virus czar says 1st dose proving less effective than Pfizer indicated — report

Israel's coronavirus czar Nachman Ash visits the Jerusalem Municipality, November 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel's coronavirus czar Nachman Ash visits the Jerusalem Municipality, November 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Coronavirus czar Nachman Ash says the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine is turning out to provide less protection against COVID-19 than the US pharmaceutical firm had initially indicated it would, Army Radio reports.

Many people have gotten infected between the first and second Pfizer shots, he reportedly says, and it appears the protection offered by the first dose is “less effective than we had thought.” The data on the protective effect against the virus of the first dose, it is estimated, is “lower than Pfizer presented,” he is quoted saying.

Over 2 million Israelis have had their first Pfizer shot. Over 400,000 have had the second.

During talks among Health Ministry officials ahead of today’s cabinet meeting, Ash also says it’s not certain that vaccines can protect against mutated variants of the coronavirus, according to the report.

Ash is also quoted saying he won’t insist that tightened lockdown measures be extended for two more weeks and that he’ll settle for another week and a half.

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