Story at a glance

  • Horowitz’s comments come as data on the omicron variant is limited and researchers race to determine how dangerous the strain is.
  • The big question is whether current vaccines provide adequate protection against the strain.
  • “The vaccine is really crucial right now. Anyone who is exposed to the variant without a vaccine will put themselves at unnecessary risk,” Horowitz added.

While there’s still much uncertainty about the omicron coronavirus variant and how it will spread, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says there are “indications” current vaccines provide adequate protection against the strain. 

“In the coming days we will have more accurate information about the efficacy of the vaccine against Omicron, but there is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a vaccine still valid or with a booster will also be protected from this variant,” Horowitz said during a news conference Tuesday, according to The Jerusalem Post

“The vaccine is really crucial right now. Anyone who is exposed to the variant without a vaccine will put themselves at unnecessary risk,” Horowitz added. 


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Booster shots have been available to anyone over age 16 in Israel since late August, and a person is not considered fully vaccinated in the country until they have received a third dose. At least four cases of the omicron strain have been recorded in Israel. 

Horowitz’s comments come as data on the omicron variant is limited and researchers race to determine whether the strain can cause severe illness, if it’s more transmissible than the delta variant and whether it can erode or evade immunity provided by current vaccines. 

Researchers say it will take weeks to answer such questions. 

The omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, and the World Health Organization on Wednesday said 23 countries across the globe have reported cases of the highly mutated strain. No cases have been reported in the U.S. but health experts say it is likely circulating in the country.


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Published on Dec 01, 2021