The head of infectious diseases at Israel's largest hospital on Monday slammed people who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, calling it "unacceptable" that at least one million eligible Israelis are still not inoculated.
Prof. Galia Rahav, the head of the Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratories at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, told Ynet the majority of young COVID patients who require hospitalization have not been vaccinated.
"If ten days ago we had about eight hospitalizations a day, we now have 23 serious patients and at least two ventilated [a day]," she said.
Prof. Rahav added that getting vaccinated is "crucial".
"We see immunity decreasing as time passes from the last vaccine. There is a significant decrease in the level of antibodies and [an inverse] link between the level of neutralizing antibodies and recurring infection, so I think it is extremely important to get vaccinated with the third dose."
The professor said the vaccine will not reduce the infection spread or the number of verified cases, but it will prevent severe illnesses.
"It is very important to administer the booster to the population aged 60 and over and it is perhaps even more important to vaccinate with the first and second shot those who have not yet been vaccinated," she said.
"It is not acceptable to me that 1,100,000 people in Israel are unvaccinated. This is a matter that must be resolved."
Prof. Rahav added that she hopes Israel will not enter another lockdown for the Jewish High Holidays in September as was suggested by some in the health system, saying she would like to keep the economy open.
"I am sure that in the meantime the third shot will reduce the [number of] seriously ill. Secondly, we need to cover all the bases when it comes to unvaccinated, get organized ahead of schools' reopening, testing and continue with the Green Pass mandate even for children."