While the U.S likes to look at the UK, Israel is the real forward indicator for mRNA pandemic outcomes. The news is not good.
Israel is being closely watched now because it was one of the first countries out of the gate with vaccinations in December 2020 and quickly achieved a degree of population coverage that was the envy of other nations— for a time, according to Science.org. Israel is the forward indicator for the U.S., among others. Even though the U.S. has much inferior vaccination rates.
Now we know breakthrough cases due to higher viral loads with the Delta variant makes herd immunity impossible, but it gets worse.
Waning Immunity is Worse Than we Thought
Now, the effects of waning immunity may be beginning to show in Israelis vaccinated in early winter; a preprint published last month by scientists at MHS found that protection from COVID-19 infection during June and July dropped in proportion to the length of time since an individual was vaccinated.
Essentially this means from your fist jab, you have around 7 months until efficacy of the vaccine drops pretty significantly each month. The cases of hospitalizations of fully vaccinated people in Israel today in August, is pretty high. So high that it’s clear 2022 is going to be very messy with many deaths. It’s way worse than we are being told.
The Grim Warning from Israel
It essentially means that vaccinations don’t actually end the pandemic.
Some of the data months later on fully vaccinated mRNA patients points to a dangerous world for months and likely years to come. Here are some conclusions we can make from Science.
- What is clear is that “breakthrough” cases are not the rare events the term implies.
- As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier.
- Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older. “There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” says Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) who has consulted on COVID-19 for the government. “One of the big stories from Israel [is]: ‘Vaccines work, but not well enough.’”
This suggests that without regular boost shots, people over 60 will die at scale globally for quite some time.
Israel has relatively few vaccine hesitancy populations. For less than say America, Australia or even Canada. Delta is so contagious it’s nearly impossible not to get it a few times in the next years.
A Prolonged Pandemic Will Mean More Health Systems Fail
Science.org goes on to point out that hospital burnout will be severe and some hospitals and ICUs will break down entirely. When the health system goes, deaths will sky-rocket.
“The most frightening thing to the government and the Ministry of Health is the burden on hospitals,” says Dror Mevorach, who cares for COVID-19 patients at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and advises the government. At his hospital, he is lining up anesthesiologists and surgeons to spell his medical staff in case they become overwhelmed by a wave like January’s, when COVID-19 patients filled 200 beds. “The staff is exhausted,” he says, and he has restarted a weekly support group for them “to avoid some kind of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] effect.”
This doesn’t paint a good picture as the Fed begins to taper for 8 months starting late in 2021. The bankers essentially don’t understand the pandemic. They don’t understand what’s coming. The pandemic in 2020 was nothing to what it will become in 2022.
Everyone Will Want Boosters
Given the most recent data out of Israel, there are still a lot of hospitalizations even for the vaccinated. This suggests that everyone will want and eventually get Boosters (if they are in a rich country with plentiful vaccines).
Still, studies suggest boosters might have broader value. Researchers have shown that boosting induces a prompt surge in antibodies, which are needed in the nose and throat as a crucial first line of defense against infection.
The Israeli government’s decision to start boosting those 50 and older was driven by preliminary Ministry of Health data indicating people over age 60 who have received a third dose were half as likely as their twice-vaccinated peers to be hospitalized in recent days.
We are all in a sense immune compromised in a world of waning efficacy (6 to 9 months from your first dose) and a more transmissible mutated variant.
“This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of world,” says Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Clalit Health Services (CHS), Israel’s largest health maintenance organization (HMO). “If it can happen here, it can probably happen everywhere.”
Vaccinations Aren’t a Silver Bullet in this Pandemic as America Tried to Tell Us
In fact, Israel is a lot better than it will be in most places in 2022. This is due to their quick vaccinations and high vaccination rates of total population. People will keep dying in 2022, and likely at a much higher and faster rate than 2021. Delta still hasn’t hit its peak for infections for 2021.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine is just 39% effective in Israel where the delta variant is the dominant strain, according to a new report from the country’s Health Ministry. This means vaccinations don’t prevent Delta infections. This means Delta doesn’t just become endemic, it infects everyone without exception. Some percentage of those vaccinated will also be hospitalized and some of those will die.
I’m not by any means a vaccine skeptic, but the Israel data is concerning. It means the economic impacts of Covid-19 are likely more to come than they are over. It means boost shots every 6 months will be the new normal.
Boosters won’t blunt Delta because Delta is too contagious and the world is failing at both vaccinations and preventing hospital staff burnout. This suggests that health care systems will be on the verge of collapsing in 2022.
Data out of Israel shows that People vaccinated in January had a 2.26 times greater risk for a breakthrough infection than those vaccinated in April. This means how vaccine efficacy wanes is a global problem that helps Delta and prevents many global economies from actually recovery in 2022 or 2023. The elderly aren’t safe, to be honest. Those with other conditions aren’t safe, even with vaccinations.
Cases in Israel in August have now soared to their highest level since mid-February, with hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions beginning to follow. Israel doesn’t even have it bad and their nurses and doctors are getting PTSD, what this means for the rest of the world is a pandemic dystopia scenario.
It isn’t over until its over. Promises of herd immunity and the vaccine as a silver bullet were wrong, technically. The pandemic might just be getting started. 60% of hospitalizations in Israel are fully vaccinated, that means 2022 will be a nightmare of pandemic confusion in a world of endless booster shots. So to summarize:
- Herd immunity is no longer realistic with Delta
- Vaccines don’t last very long (6 to 9 months)
- Hospitalizations of fully vaccinated will surge starting around December, 2021 (when first cycle efficacy begins to wane in North America)
- Everyone will get Delta (people who get Delta in a busy city will give it to nine others)
- Hospital systems and ICUs will break down
- More Nurses and Doctors will get PTSD
- More people above 60 or with other conditions will pass on