‘Israel probably won’t reach herd immunity’

With some 2.5 million children who can't receive the coronavirus vaccine, Israel may never be able to reach herd immunity.

Jerusalem streets during coronavirus lockdown in Israel, January 2021 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem streets during coronavirus lockdown in Israel, January 2021
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
 “The moment we have 2.5 million children that can’t be vaccinated, we probably won’t reach herd immunity, even if the entire population that can be vaccinated, will be vaccinated,” said Head of Public Health Services Sharon Alroy-Preis on Sunday at a Knesset hearing.
Herd immunity occurs when a sick person can infect less than the number of people he or she otherwise would because those people are immune, explained Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer for Clalit Health Services and chairman of the National Expert Advisory Panel to the Government on COVID-19
“If the number of people that are supposed to be infected are three and out of every three people two are immune, that means we have achieved herd immunity and the disease will not disseminate,” Balicer explained to The Jerusalem Post
Alroy-Preis made her statements on the day that the country started opening up again after nearly 40 days of lockdown. She said that the closure worked in that the reproduction rate, also known as the “R,” drops from 1.3 to .99 as of Sunday. Among the ultra-Orthodox it stood at 0.9, the Arabs 1.01 and among the rest of society 1.05.
On Sunday, the 1,000-m. restriction on traveling was abolished. Nature reserves, national parks and outdoor archaeological sites opened, restaurants and stores were once again allowed to offer takeaway, one-on-one services and work-from-office for employees at companies that do not directly see the public have resumed. 
Children are not expected to return to school until at least Tuesday. 
“If we thought that after the first injection of the vaccine everything would be different, it won’t,” she stressed, noting that new data has recently revealed that there are variants that are infecting people a second time.