COVID-19 Questions and Answers
Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
Until not too long ago, coronavirus (COVID-19) ran rampant in Israel and caused high infection rates among the population. The virus is still running rampant around the world, and many countries still cope with enormous infection and mortality rates. Over the last few months, thanks to the vaccination operation, Israel has all but cleansed itself of the virus. Nevertheless, more and more coronavirus variants (mutations) keep appearing around the world, and some of them also reach Israel. For this reason, anyone returning from abroad is required to test for coronavirus at the entrance to Israel, even if they are vaccinated for coronavirus or recovered from coronavirus disease. The vaccines, which have been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), proved to provide about 95% protection against the disease, including against its different variants. Therefore, anyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet should go and do so, the sooner the better.
The public's response to the vaccination operation is amazing, and today over 5 million (!) Israelis have been vaccinated.
Yes! Over time, more and more studies have been conducted about the vaccine's efficacy, and the results are excellent: Two weeks after the second dose, the vaccine provides protections of up to 95%. The conclusion is clear: Vaccination saves lives and prevents serious illness.
According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Health, two weeks after the second dose, protection of about 97% against serious illness and death has been observed.
Clalit HMO conducted a study among about 1.2 million vaccinated individuals. Here, too, the results proved the vaccine's efficacy and importance: 94% decrease in the appearance of symptomatic illness, 92% decrease in the appearance of serious illness and about 87% decrease in the number of hospitalization cases.
Even in other studies (such as the one conducted by Maccabi HMO) the results remain intact: The vaccine provides near-perfect protection, and it is our only chance to resume our pre-pandemic normalcy that we miss so dearly. Therefore, the unequivocal recommendation by health experts and the Israeli Ministry of Health, as well as by the World Health Organization, is to allow anyone over 12 to get vaccinated, the sooner the better. There is a general consensus among the scientific and medical community: The vaccine is effective, and its effective will only grow the more people, younger and older alike, are vaccinated, and the sooner the better. That way we could save many lives and the economy could go back to business as usual.
We are well aware that there are many who spread false information about this matter. Did you encounter a post spreading false news? You can react by posting the link to the page refuting fake news about the vaccine's efficacy.
Top Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials approved the vaccine after it was tested most carefully by external committees that have decisively concluded that the vaccine is safe. Based on what?
- Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have already been administered around the world.
- The vaccine, which is injected into the muscle, leaves the body after a short time.
The vaccine was tested not only among tens of thousands during clinical trials but on many more millions around the world. After hundreds of millions of vaccinations around the world, already know quite a bit about the vaccine's side effects. There are some mild and passing side effects, most of them topical (pain in the injection site, sometimes shivers, fever, fatigue or weakness and so forth). In any event, most side effects pass rather quickly after the vaccination. It should be noted that the technology, on which the coronavirus vaccine is based, has existed for over a decade in healthcare.
Thanks to its great efficacy and its safety, the vaccine has also been approved for recovered coronavirus patients and even for teenagers over 12.
We are well aware that there are many who spread false information about this matter. Did you encounter a post spreading false news? You can react by posting the link to the pages below:
The vaccine for coronavirus is divided into two doses, administered at least 21 days apart from each other.
The vaccine is injected directly into the arm muscle and disappears from the body after a short period time. Three weeks later the second vaccine is administered, and a week after receiving the second dose, the vaccinated individual may be given a vaccination certificate.
While the vaccine does provide an excellent, near-perfect, solution for coronavirus, it is still important to follow the rules, due to the slight chance of infection with the virus despite vaccination. Therefore, the following rules of conduct for preventing infection and the spread of the virus remain intact:
- Avoiding or minimizing unnecessary closeness between people, including restrictions on unnecessary gatherings and maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters between people.
- Washing hands frequently with water and soap.
Currently only individuals with known severe allergies to any of the vaccine's ingredients (rare) and children younger than 12 years (except by exceptional approval) are forbidden from vaccinating.
Among those who have been infected with coronavirus, including young people, many complications and long-term side effects, including heart problems and neurological disorders have been discovered. Teenagers can become infected and infect others and we want to eradicate the disease. Therefore, anyone who is eligible for vaccination should go and get vaccinated, first and foremost to protect themselves and those around them and to allow the return to normalcy.
No. It is not possible to become sick from the vaccine because the vaccine does not contain coronavirus or any part thereof.
Just like with any other vaccine, it is important to contact your doctor if you develop any side effects around the time of vaccination.
You can report adverse events (potential side effects) by submitting an online form:
On 21.1.2021, the Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a position paper, according to which, there were only few cases of severe allergic reactions and not a single death has been reported.
mRNA breaks down after a few hours. The vaccine cannot interact our DNA since the mRNA cannot enter the nucleus of the cell, where our genetic material (DNA) is kept.
Have you encountered any publication stating otherwise? You can reply by posting a link to our article which debunks fake news on this matter.
Usually these are anonymous publications unclaimed by any official authority. It is important to know that these publications are for the most part false, and some provide half-truths (such as exaggerated descriptions of common side effects) in order to spread panic. Some of these publications originate with sects that oppose any form of medication or vaccination. Some of these sects also have missionary agencies. You may refer all of your doubts or concerns about any publication to the Ministry of Health's call center, the hotlines of the HMOs or your trusted general practitioner. It should be noted that renowned Israeli thinkers from all walks of life and from all religious groups have carefully examined the data, have been briefed by medical experts, have asked them questions and have expressed their support of the vaccine.
Coronavirus – Fake news website debunks commonly raised claims against the vaccine.
The Benefits of Vaccination
Vaccination confers upon the vaccinated individuals quite a few benefits:
- Protecting loved ones
Holders of vaccination or recovery certificates are exempt from the isolation requirement, unless they returned from one of the destinations designated as destination with the highest COVID-19 risk, travel to which is prohibited in accordance with the Ministry of Health's guidance (for the list of destinations, click here).
Pregnancy, Childbirth and Children
Pregnant women are permitted and even encouraged to get vaccinated. According to experts from the Ministry of Health who have examined test results of mothers and newborns who have been vaccinated during pregnancy, there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine may cause any harm to the fetus at any stage of the pregnancy. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health stresses that there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine contains any biological mechanism which can cause any harm to the pregnancy or to the fetus. Therefore, there is no hindrance to vaccination at all stages of the pregnancy.
Although there is no hindrance to vaccination at all stages if the pregnancy, since the first trimester is the most vulnerable, it is recommended to wait until the second trimester before vaccinating, in order to prevent any suspicion of link, however incidental, between the vaccine and occurrences which are characteristic of the first trimester.
Detailed information from the National Council of Health and the Israeli Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Certainly. It is permitted and even recommended. According to experts from the Ministry of Health, the vaccine is not transmitted by breastfeeding from the nursing mother to her baby. For the sake of the nursing mother's health and the health of the other members of her household – it is important to be vaccinated.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved giving the COVID-19 vaccine to teenagers 12-15 years of age after Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceutical companies completed their clinical tests abroad.
Vaccine Technology (mRNA)
Vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) are a method for protecting against infectious diseases. Traditional vaccines induce an immune reaction by inserting a dead or weakened agent into the body. Vaccines based on messenger RNA teach the body's cells how to synthesize a protein – or a part thereof – that induces an immune reaction in the body. During this reaction, antibodies are created, which protect us if we are exposed to the virus. Shortly after (hours to days), the body breaks down the mRNA.
The vaccine give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein". The spike protein is found on the surface of the coronavirus. When this vaccine is injected into a muscle, the instructions are transmitted into cells that start to make the protein piece.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. The immune system recognizes that this protein does not belong to the body and begins making antibodies, just like what happens in a natural infection against COVID-19. At the end of the process, the body has learnt how to protect against future infection. The benefit of the vaccine is that those vaccinated are protected against COVID-19 and its complications.
Individuals with no status may be vaccinated, provided that they can provide proof that they have been in Israel for over six months. Palestinians who work in Israel and in the settlements with a valid work permit have been vaccinated since 7.3.2021.
How to get a vaccination certificate for holders of a Palestinian Authority I.D.