People who get a booster Pfizer Covid vaccine or who had their second jab within six months should be highly protected against Omicron, Israeli health chiefs say. But have cited no data as yet to prove their claim.
Without citing any data, Health minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Tuesday that there was ‘room for optimism’ based on ‘initial indications’.
Just hours later, a report by an Israeli news channel claimed the Pfizer jab was 90 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron, just slightly less than Delta.
Channel 12 also claimed the super mutant is just 1.3 times more infectious than the dominant Delta variant — much lower than initially feared.
The news comes after two new cases of the Omicron variant were identified in Israel, bringing the total to four. The country closed its borders to foreigners at midnight on Sunday to stem the spread of the new strain.
Mr Horowitz told local reporters on Tuesday: ‘In the coming days we will have more accurate information about the efficacy of the vaccine against Omicron.
‘But there is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a vaccine still valid or with a booster, will also be protected from this variant.’
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry last night said it was not yet in possession of the data published by Channel 12.
But the comments come after the co-founder of BioNTech – which developed the Pfizer jab – said he was confident it would hold up against Omicron.
BioNTech’s Dr Ugur Sahin admitted on Tuesday that the variant will probably cause breakthrough infections at a higher rate than Delta.