The Middle Eastern states of Israel and Palestine show contrasting figures in both vaccination rates and case counts amid the ongoing pandemic. Israel recently saw a massive spike in Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases despite three-fifths of its population being vaccinated. Meanwhile, Palestine saw its COVID-19 cases drop even though more than 90 percent of its population remains unvaccinated.

Naturopathic doctor Suneil Jain pointed out the stark contrast in a tweet. His post said: “Palestine: 8.2 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Israel: 62 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Guess which one is doing better?”

Jain pointed to figures from the website OurWorldInData.org to support his tweet. He compared the vaccination rates and the number of COVID-19 cases in both countries and found that the former was directly proportional to the latter. While Israel suffers from high case counts despite the majority of its citizens being vaccinated, Palestine, with many remaining unvaccinated, has seen a steady drop.

As of Aug. 10, more than half of Israel’s population have been fully vaccinated, while only 8.2 percent of Palestinians have received two doses of coronavirus vaccines. Palestine has only administered around 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, a small number compared to the more than 10 million doses administered by Israel.

Furthermore, figures from OurWorldInData.org show that the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Israel has surpassed the 3,500 mark. Meanwhile, daily new COVID-19 cases in Palestine never went beyond 500. These figures suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are not only ineffective, but they could also be responsible for the new wave of COVID-19 infections.

According to the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, Israel procured and approved both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines for use. On the other hand, Palestine relied on donated vaccines for its vaccination program. The country received a total of 37,440 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the World Health Organization‘s COVAX initiative. Palestine also received doses of the Russian-made vaccine, Sputnik V, according to a BBC report.

Israel relied too much on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Israel used the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on a huge percentage of its population, alongside the two-dose Moderna vaccine. More than 5.4 million Israelis received the Pfizer/BioNTech shot in the country’s widely praised mass inoculation program. However, examinations done by Israeli medical experts reveal that Pfizer’s vaccine may have caused more harm than good.

Back in April 2021, researchers from Tel Aviv University and Israeli healthcare provider Clalit Health Services reported that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine increased the risk of people catching COVID-19 variants. They found that Israelis who completed the vaccine’s two-dose schedule were eight times more likely to get infected with the South African B1351 strain. Meanwhile, those who received one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot were at higher risk of catching the British B117 strain.

“We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. Based on patterns in the general population, we would have expected just one case of the [B1351] variant – but we saw eight,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Adi Stern, said. 

Months later, the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was only 39 percent effective against the B16172 delta variant. The ministry noted this finding in its July 22 report, which included COVID-19 cases recorded between June 20 and July 17. This corresponded with the time of the more infectious variant’s spread in Israel. 

The MOH’s report also noted the waning effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 transmission. People vaccinated in March and April 2021 had more than 50 percent protection against the COVID-19 virus, while those inoculated in February 2021 only had 44 percent. Israelis inoculated at the start of the year saw their vaccine-induced protection levels drop to a measly 16 percent.

First identified in India, the B16172 delta variant has since spread to other countries. According to Israel’s Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, the strain is 60 percent more infectious than the British B117 strain. It has also caused almost three times more hospitalizations than the B117 variant.

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