Yesterday, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel’s Director of Public Health Services, was interviewed on the CBS program Face the Nation. She was very impressive as she was the only guest who spoke directly from real world data, specifically from Israel’s COVID vaccination experience.
She said several important things and reinforced some of the comments I made in my last post.
Her first comment reiterated that the RNA COVID vaccine (Israel almost exclusively used the Pfizer vaccine) was highly effective against the Delta variant. A drop in efficacy six months after immunization reduced protection against delta infection from 95%+ to over 80%.
This 10% reduction in vaccine protection six months after vaccination was seen predominantly in people over the age of 65 and did not reduce the vaccine’s efficacy in preventing hospitalization or death. This correlated well with the U.S. data showing an eight-fold reduction in infectivity with the Delta variant and 25-fold reductions in hospitalization and death.
Based on these findings, Israel is recommending COVID-19 vaccine booster shots only in the elderly, at risk individuals with other medical problems, or in people with compromised immune systems.
In addition, not only were vaccinated people less likely to be infected by the Delta variant, but in Israel’s experience, vaccinated individuals rarely transmitted the virus if they become infected. Only about 10% of COVID infected, vaccinated individuals appeared to transmit infection, and each vaccinated person infected an average of only one other individual. This is very different from the 10 individuals that each unvaccinated, infected individual is thought to infect.
This information suggests that the CDC’s presumption that infected, vaccinated individuals have an equal potential (to the unvaccinated) to infect others is incorrect. Again, the CDC presumption was based solely on swab PCR data from a single study and therefore did not have a definitive scientific basis.
The bottom line is that even with the Delta variant, the significant risk for spreading infection still comes from unvaccinated people that develope COVID-19.
8 thoughts on “Israel’s Director of Public Health Services confirms vaccinated individuals unlikely to spread COVID-19 when infected.”
I am trying to reconcile what you said about the vaccine’s protection against Covid infection dropping from 95% to only 80% 6 months after vaccination, with Dr. Alroy-Preis’ statement that in those immunized before March (roughly 6 months ago), the protection dropped to 40%. I understand that the vaccine still protects against serious disease and that vaccinated people are unlikely to transmit the virus, which is promising. Can you just clarify where you got the information that the protection dropped from 95-80% after 6 months as opposed to a drop to 40% stated by the Israeli Director of Public Health. I say this as I, who received my 2nd shot of Moderna mid March, tested positive with Covid19 using a home kit and then got a negative test 3 days later (yesterday) with a rapid test at an Urgent Care Center. Now I’m scheduled to get the PCR test tomorrow to put my mind at ease before I stop isolating. I have mild symptoms. Thanks!
Thanks for your question. I think things got lost in translation a bit. She states the 40% figure, but then says “we see infection rate among them (fully vaccinated individuals) that is ninety per a hundred thousand which is double that of those who were fully vaccinated by March. The fully vaccinated were initially over 95% protected. If that rate is now slightly more than doubled, the protection from is 40% of what is was initially. It does not mean that 40% of vaccinated people are getting infected. Good luck with your test. I hope you aren’t part of the 5% that gets infected regardless of having the vaccine.
I read a transcript and I am a bit confused. I thought she said the vaccine was 40% effective against disease (50% of their current cases are in vaccinated individuals). Also when she said 10% transmission by vaccinated individuals she seemed to be excluding household contacts- saying there is transmission among household contacts. If true this is an important distinction for those of us living with an immune compromised family member. Can you clarify the 80% you noted vs the 40% effectiveness number she stated? Thanks!
Yes, I agree she excluded household contacts. I gave the 10% figure because that was the concern in the CDC statement, that public exposure from immunized individuals is efficient at spreading the virus and requires vaccinated people to wear masks. Your situation is obviously different and I would take every precaution. I also would have your loved one get an mRNA vaccine (three doses) as there is now data suggesting it can be effective in those situations.
On the 40 % issue, I think things got lost in translation a bit. She states the 40% figure, but when further questioned if this is truly “waning immunity,” she then says “we see infection rate among them (fully vaccinated individuals by January) that is ninety per a hundred thousand which is double that of those who were fully vaccinated by March. The fully vaccinated in March are initially over 95% protected. If that rate is now slightly more than doubled, the protection from infection is 40% of what is was initially. It does not mean that 40% of vaccinated people are getting infected.
Thanks for answering the question. It is still a little confusing but I trust you’ve reviewed her comments and your take away is still the same. We’ve got our 50th reunion coming up in October and it will require me traveling, so I hope those of us who are vaccinated won’t have much risk when traveling! Hope to see you there!
Yes. Big difference between dropped by 40% and dropped to 40%. But yesterday Francis Collins said vaccinated people should wear masks at home with their children! Crazy and he had to retract within an hour. Known Francis for 30 years and he is a remarkable geneticist but should not be weighing in on this. Hope to see you in October. Jim
Thanks for clearing up all the confusion on this stuff. Not too sure we’ll be able to gather in October. Stay posted and keep doing all this great work. So helpful. Loved the podcast today with Helppie and shared it widely.
Plan to talk with Marion Harmon about the likelihood of an October happening….