Liberman joins call to scrap Green Pass as rapid Omicron spread renders it obsolete

Finance minister says 'there is no medical or epidemiological logic behind the Green Pass' as the elusive variant fuels tsunami of infections nationwide that does not spare the vaccinated

Moran Azulay|
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday joined the call to scrap the Green Pass as the rapid spread of the elusive Omicron coronavirus variant renders it obsolete.
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  • "There is no medical or epidemiological logic behind the Green Pass, and many experts agree," he tweeted.
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    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman
    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman
    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian, Gettyimages)
    "What there is, is direct disruption of the economy, daily life and increasing public hysteria. I work with all parties involved to do away with the Green Pass and bring the normality to our daily lives."
    Liberman himself came down with coronavirus over the weekend, five days after receiving his fourth vaccine dose against the pathogen. The 63-year-old said he was feeling well and would pass quarantine at his home in Nokdim.
    Israel first introduced the Green Pass last year — a document that allows people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease to enter public accommodations.
    The Yisrael Beitenu chairman's post comes as Health Ministry officials are deliberating on whether to abolish the Green Pass requirement and allow those who are not fully vaccinated to enter public venues and events.
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    ליברמן מתחסן בחיסון הרביעי
    ליברמן מתחסן בחיסון הרביעי
    Liberman receives his fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, January 10, 2022
    The notion to scrap the document was reinforced on Monday after an Israeli study has shown that a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine offered only limited protection against Omicron.
    Preliminary results from the study conducted at Sheba Medical Center showed that after receiving the shot, participants developed higher coronavirus antibody levels, which were only partly effective in preventing Omicron infections.
    "The increase observed in antibody level after the administration of the fourth dose of either Moderna or Pfizer is slightly higher than the peak level observed after the administration of the third dose, said study director Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay.
    "However, using Sheba's exclusive data on Omicron morbidity among hospital staff participating in serological research, we see that despite the significant increase in antibodies after the fourth shot, this protection is only partially effective against the Omicron variant, which is relatively resistant to the vaccine."
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    תור ארוך במתחם בדיקות הקורונה של מד"א בהבימה
    תור ארוך במתחם בדיקות הקורונה של מד"א בהבימה
    Long lines stretching outside coronavirus testing center in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    Earlier this month, Israel became the first country in the world to approve the fourth coronavirus jab for people over 60 as well as to health workers in a bid to stave off Omicron's spread
    Prof. Regev-Yochay said she believed it was the right call to offer the extra shot to older citizens, but suggested waiting until a vaccine tailored for Omicron becomes available before administering it to the rest of the population.
    The findings largely confirm fears Prof. Regev-Yochay voiced talking to Ynet earlier this month that the second booster was ineffective against the strain.
    "A five-fold increase [in antibody levels] is good, but it's not enough, it does not give the same effect as the first booster shot. If these results bring us back to antibodies level of approximately four months ago, then it means we will have to get vaccinated every four months, and that's not the goal," said Prof. Regev.
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