Quick update on the Israeli vaccine data

It is bad and getting worse.

I have a bigger Stack planned on the Pfizer trial results.

But Israel has gone back to being more transparent, and the new data are now too bad not to highlight.

A reminder - Israel and the United Kingdom were the two major countries that vaccinated earliest and most aggressively. And they are much better at providing data than the United States - they provide updates every day, which limits their opportunities to manipulate it.

Israel is now segmenting the number of serious cases by vaccinated and unvaccinated and by age on its primary data dashboard, available here:

https://datadashboard.health.gov.il/COVID-19/general?utm_source=go.gov.il&utm_medium=referral

You can use Google translate and check it for yourself. It’s actually pretty straightforward.

So here’s the chart of new serious cases each day:

As you can see, new serious cases have risen 10-fold since the beginning of July - from roughly five a day to about 40 over the last week. The overall number of patients has soared too - from 30 to more than 200.

But how many of those people are vaccinated?

The vast majority. Israel has broken out the data in various ways at various times, but throughout July most new patients were vaccinated.

In an effort to play down that reality, Israel has begun to provide data comparing RATES of serious illness in older people who were not vaccinated and those who were. And those show that as of now, unvaccinated people are still becoming seriously ill significantly more frequently than those who aren’t.

But that comparison hides a very big problem.

Israel did an excellent job convincing people over 60 to be vaccinated. Only about 1 person in 15 in that age range didn’t receive at least one dose. Fewer than 1 in 10 is not fully vaccinated.

Why should you care? Because the tiny fraction of older people who are unvaccinated in Israel at this point are almost certainly materially different than the vast majority who are. As far as I know, the Israel government hasn’t broken out the differences. But given the pressure to vaccinate, a significant number of those older unvaccinated people are likely simply too sick to tolerate the vaccine - especially those over 80, where overall vaccination rates are even higher.

But if they are too sick to tolerate the vaccine, they are obviously at much higher risk from Covid than the vaccinate. In other words, ability (and propensity) to be vaccinated is likely a marker for overall health. Researchers know this is true of the influenza vaccine - once they adjust for the fact that older people who get the vaccine are healthier to start than than those who don’t, the advantage the vaccine seems to offer mostly disappears.

So the comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated isn’t useful.

What is useful is examining the trend among serious illness in older vaccinated people.

And it is terrible. The rate of cases has risen 12-fold IN A MONTH. On July 4th, fewer than 1 older vaccinated person in 100,000 became seriously ill. Today the rate is 10 in 100,000.

Remember - comparing unvaccinated and vaccinated at this point hardly matters. THE DARK GREEN LINE IS THE ONE THAT COUNTS:

And though we cannot be sure what will happen next, it is worth noting that rates of serious illness among the vaccinated are now as high as they were among the unvaccinated only TWO WEEKS AGO. Perhaps that’s why the Israeli government is now predicting a further quadrupling of new serious cases by the end of August:

A quadrupling would represent 800 serious cases, approaching the peak of the winter surge (which was itself probably FUELED by a spike in cases following the first vaccine dose) - and far more than at this time last year.

And remember, Israel CANNOT BLAME THE UNVACCINATED FOR THIS SPIKE - around 85 percent of adults over 30 are fully vaccinated. That’s well above the range experts said would provide herd immunity.

And yet instead of pulling back and at least considering a pause on vaccinations as it digests the disaster of the last month, Israel is going the other way - pushing a third dose on the elderly. Meanwhile the cry to mandate or quasi-mandate vaccinations in the United States is only getting louder.

What on earth is going on?