Does the vaccine already influencing the infections in Israel?

Recoveries, Infections and Mortality in Israel January 2021

We are already in the 49th day of the vaccination program. We have vaccinated already 56,740,891 people worldwide, covering 0.72% of the total world population or 1.21% of the world population needed for the herd immunity. In order to defeat the pandemic, we need 60% of the population being immune (by vaccine or recovery from infection).

Everyone expected to see already the results of the vaccines. Globally there are no signs that infections or mortality are down. So we need to look at the country with the highest density of vaccinations and that is currently Israel. Israel has a population of 8,884,590, and it has 36.11% of its population already vaccinated or 60.18% of the population needed for herd immunity. I think that is enough to look what is going on with the infections, number of people died because of corona and the active cases (those who are currently infected).

The Israeli corona story

The Israeli government starts to feed the Israeli population with optimistic noises about the effectiveness of the vaccin. Let's see what the Israeli government has to say with their announcements in the Israeli media.

"There were 7,099 new cases Thursday, reported the Health Ministry on Friday morning, representing a slight decrease in the number of people screened who are confirmed positive. Some 8.9% of people screened Thursday were found to have the virus, versus 9% on Wednesday and 9.2% before that." (Source is Jerusalem Post)

"Deputy Health Minister Kisch credits the lockdown and the vaccines for the reduction in morbidity; Health Ministry panel expected to recommend vaccinating youths aged 16-18" ... "The estimated COVID-19 reproduction number in Israel has dipped below 1 for the first time since the country launched the world's fastest vaccination drive, suggesting the pandemic may be starting to recede, the government said on Thursday. An "R" number above 1 indicates infections will grow at an exponential rate, while below 1 point to their eventual halt." (Source is Ynetnews)

Let's see what Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has to say about that.

The state of the Israeli pandemic

Israel Infections from 23 February 2020 till 21 January 2021
Israel Infections from 23 February 2020 till 21 January 2021

Here we see the picture of the number of infections in Israel from February 23, 2020 until January 21, 2021.

From this scale, we see two large peaks in September (the second lockdown started at September 15, 2020) and the peak was in November/December 2020. For your information, lockdowns are generating peak-infections, as you can see that.

But we can't see enough detail about the interesting events, starting December 20, 2020. That was the date that Israel started with its vaccination program, part of the WHO supported/managed world vaccination campaign.

Science claims that it needs 12 days before the vaccine can kick in and can offer some protection. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offers 12 days after the first dose 52% protection and 95% protection after the second dose (with 5 days waiting time to allow the body to settle).

Well, here we go. Let's see who is right:

Infections Israel January 2021
Infections Israel January 2021

My first reaction after seeing this chart is that it is too early to say that something positive is happening in Israel concerning the daily new infections. It's actually a very worrying situation.

The statement of the Israeli government is a joke.

Reproduction numbers

They claim that "COVID-19 reproduction number in Israel has dipped below 1". Meaning that new infections will be reduced dramatically and would be visible in the above chart. That is not the case at all. And not only that, but I suspect that the politicians don't understand what the reproduction number actually is and what it represent and what its accuracy is.  If you want to read about the complexity of using the reproduction number, click here.

reproduction number below 1 means that the pandemic is to vanish. But using such method is much more complicated than it sounds. You need to have reliable data, which covers not only the true number of infections and the true number of death. The only way to determine that someone is infected is by testing the person. So the quality of the true data is seriously in doubt, because it depends on intensive testing of the population. The Israeli numbers of tests are high, but they only indicate how many tests were performed, not the number of people who were tested at a certain time.

The reproduction number has a bad history, because it was used as part to generate unrealistic overblown projections about the expected infections (and death) at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. The results claimed billions of infections and hundreds of millions of death.

New daily Infections and active cases

Before I show the chart, you need to know what the differences are. New daily infections says it already. That is the number of people who are newly infected for the day. Active cases are those people who were infected previously and still have the disease at the moment of writing.

Israel Infections and Active Cases from 23 February 2020 till 21 January 2021
Israel Infections and Active Cases from 23 February 2020 till 21 January 2021

The red line represents the daily new infections and the blue vertical bars represents the people currently sick in Israel. The black line represents the trend of the active cases, which is currently only going up. This picture doesn't look like the corona infections to be improving, especially with the high number of active cases in Israel. But we zoom in and see what is happening with the recoveries, infections and mortality in Israel for the month January 2021.

Recoveries, Infections and Mortality in Israel January 2021
Recoveries, Infections and Mortality in Israel January 2021

To sums it all up. After the peak in new infections and a peak in mortality only a day before the January 21, you really can't say that the situation in Israel is improving. The Israeli government is making things up. They also try to tell the population that everything is alright and trying to give them false hope. And above that there is already the green passport, which means that anyone who is not vaccinated are seriously restricted in society. But it suggest that the government is already working on the post-pandemic phase.

The post-pandemic phase will only kick in when (or if) the rest of the world is vaccinated and that is currently 123 years away.

Why are the vaccines not working yet at this moment?

Nobody can see anywhere if the vaccines are having any impact on the real numbers concerning new infections, mortality and the serious cases. The question of course is why? I personally can think about several answers, but none of them can be proven by numbers. But here are the candidates at this moment.

  1. It is still too early to tell if the vaccines are indeed working in bringing down the pandemic, even when we are already 49 days in the vaccination campaign.
  2. The vaccines have the efficiency rate set to 95% (i.e. the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, other vaccines have different numbers, but similar). The efficiency rate represent the laboratory environment. To see if the vaccines are working in the real world, we measure the effectiveness of the vaccine.
    • It looks like that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has a much lower effectiveness rate than was suggested with the efficiency rate.
    • Similar happened with the influenza vaccine (45% effectiveness rate).
  3. The vaccine doesn't work at all.
  4. Israel is in lockdown. That means that the lockdown is generating its usual peaks in infections and death and that peak is disturbing the effects of the vaccine. We will see the effects in February 2021 after the peak is getting smaller (bending the curve).

The Israeli policy of lying and giving people false hope is stupid and dangerous. I advise not to trust any corona related announcement from the Israeli government and if you want to do so, double check the numbers.

Currently, the trust in media and governments are at an all time low. That is not for nothing.

Downloads

You can download the data used in this article here. This is a zip-file (compressed) with an Excel spreadsheet and additional CSV-files. All the data used in this article and the data from the spreadsheet is based on the raw data from the Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. It is the only acceptable repository of coronavirus infections, recoveries and mortalities in the world, supported by the W.H.O. Additional references are also from ArcGIS DashboardsSearch for a Dataset - Humanitarian Data Exchange and COVID-19 pandemic data - Wikipedia.

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