Report: Vaccine may lead to ‘evolutionary pressure,’ new Israeli virus strain

The report suggests that the mass vaccination campaign, coupled with an outbreak of the virus, may lead to the emergence of an Israeli vaccine-resistant strain.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A report from IDF Intelligence prepared for Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center released Saturday warned that the current outbreak, coupled with Israel’s mass vaccination campaign, may lead to a new Israeli strain of the virus.

“The mass vaccine campaign taking place parallel to the active outbreak in Israel may lead to ‘evolutionary pressure’ on the virus,” the report reads, going on to suggest that an Israeli vaccine-resistant strain of the virus may emerge.

In a Saturday evening TV interview, Prof. Ran Blitzer, a member of the Health Ministry’s coronavirus taskforce, said the British and South African mutations of the virus make up some 40 percent of active infections in Israel.

“When we leave the [current] lockdown, we will encounter a disease that is a little different from what we knew in the second lockdown, because the morbidity rate will be higher. The vaccination campaign needs to be accelerated,” said Blitzer.

“We need to remember that receiving the vaccine, also the second dose, is not a factor that makes us immune. There is no complete protection…At Ben Gurion Airport, much more needs to be done, and it should have been done a long time ago. Quarantine needs to be properly enforced,” he added.

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Israeli government ministers are expected to vote Sunday to close Ben Gurion Airport for two weeks due to concerns over foreign strains of the virus.

Despite promises from the Israeli government that “green passport” holders – those who received two doses of the vaccine or recovered from the virus – would be exempt from quarantine requirements, the Military Intelligence report suggested that all travelers should be tested for the virus and enter quarantine upon returning to Israel from abroad.

Even those who are vaccinated, the report said, may spread new strains of the virus brought back from overseas.

The Military Intelligence report is in line with statements from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who said in a Dateline interview that the pharmaceutical giant “was not certain” that the vaccine prevents the spread of the virus. Rather, the vaccine has been proven to stop vaccinated people from developing symptoms.

“I think that’s something that needs to be examined,” Bourla said, referring to the vaccine’s effectiveness at stopping the spread of the virus among vaccinated people.