Israeli healthcare group says coronavirus infections have plunged among ...

An Israeli healthcare group on Friday said coronavirus infections had plunged among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated. 

Israel is currently leading the global vaccination drive, with around 30 per cent of its citizens having had at least a single dose of a jab so far.

But concern had risen globally over infection, death and hospitalisation rates in the country, which remained stubbornly high.

Out of 82,930 active cases on Thursday, 1,918 were hospitalized. Last week, the hospitalisation figure was just over 1,000.  

Officials had hoped that the vaccine drive - which began on December 19 - would start to show an effect by mid-February.

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But KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center claimed on Friday there had been a 'significant decrease' in the number of coronavirus infections among people aged over 60 who were vaccinated between December 19 and 24.

After analysing data of more than 50,000 patients aged over 60, they also found that hospitalisations in the same group had plunged by more than 60 per cent.  

It is a sign of hope that nationwide infections, deaths and hospitalisations could soon start to see a sustained fall. 

It came as the Israeli health ministry on Thursday announced it was allowing the inoculation of high school students aged 16-18, subject to parental approval. 

Israeli healthcare group KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Centeron on Friday said coronavirus infections had plunged among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated

Israeli healthcare group KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Centeron on Friday said coronavirus infections had plunged among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated

KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center's report was based on data 50,777 members of Maccabi who were aged over 60 and were vaccinated 23 days ago. 

They noted that there was a 'significant decrease within the vaccinated members aged 60+', reaching a decrease of around 60 per cent in new infections. 

They added that there was also a 'decrease of slightly more than 60 per cent in the number of new hospitalised patients.' 

However, KSM cautioned that 'on this level of efficiency, there should be no exemption from performing Corona tests, isolation, or the enablement of crowded gatherings, until additional convincing data is obtained. 

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'And of course continue to wear masks and keep social distancing, as recommended'.

On Friday, Israel announced a further 6,159 new cases, an 18 per cent increase on the figure of 5,235 announced seven days ago, but down from Wednesdays and Thursdays totals, of 10,213 and 7,027 respectively. 

Since the rollout of vaccinations one month ago, more than 2.5 million of Israel's nine-million-strong population have been vaccinated already, the health ministry said on Friday.

Expanding the campaign to include teens came days after Israel extended on Tuesday till the end of the month its third national coronavirus lockdown due to a surge in coronavirus infections despite the vaccinations.  

The health ministry had on Thursday announced it was allowing the inoculation of high school students aged 16-18, subject to parental approval.

Israeli healthcare group KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center on Friday said coronavirus infections had plunged among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated

Pictured: KSM's graph showing the fall in infections and hospitalisations

KSM noted that there was a 'significant decrease within the vaccinated members aged 60+', reaching a decrease of around 60 per cent in new infections. They added that there was also a 'decrease of slightly more than 60 per cent in the number of new hospitalised patients'

KSM noted that there was a 'significant decrease within the vaccinated members aged 60+', reaching a decrease of around 60 per cent in new infections. They added that there was also a 'decrease of slightly more than 60 per cent in the number of new hospitalised patients'

The country's largest health fund, Clalit, was already giving teens shots as of Saturday morning, its website said, while the three smaller funds were due to kick off their campaign later.

Israel began administering vaccines on December 20, beginning with health professionals and quickly proceeding to the elderly, sick and at-risk groups, continuously lowering the minimum age of those entitled to the shot.

From Saturday, people aged 40 and up are also allowed to get the vaccine.

According to the health ministry, as of Friday nearly 2.5 million people had received the first of two doses, with 900,000 of them getting the second as well.

Israel has given 38.8 per 100 people in the country at least one dose of the vaccine, well ahead of other countries, with some people already receiving the second.

In comparison, the UK has administered 8.9 first doses per 100 people, the

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