The battle against Covid: is vaccine immunity already on the wane?

Israel is rolling out a booster programme as Covid-19 cases spike, while outbreaks in nursing homes here are suggesting reduced vaccine efficacy

Israel initially enjoyed a speedy vaccination rollout, and was the envy of the world, but is now grappling with a Delta-driven surge of Covid-19. Picture: Getty

“I believe we are at war.” That was the startling statement which Professor Salman Zarka, Israel’s coronavirus commissioner, made at a parliamentary committee last Wednesday.

Israel had one of the quickest rollouts and highest vaccine uptakes in the world, weaponising one of the most effective vaccines – Pfizer – against the Alpha variant. And it was working, with almost all domestic restrictions lifted in June as the country became the envy of the world.

But ...