The following is a transcript of an interview with Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel’s director of Public Health Services, that aired on Sunday, August 1, 2021, on “Face the Nation.”

JOHN DICKERSON: One country that started vaccinating its population early on is Israel. That head start means that the US and other countries are watching Israel’s COVID and vaccine data for clues about what might happen in their future. Last week, Israelis started giving those over the age of 60 booster shots, becoming the first country in the world to do so after data showed diminished protection against covid among those who had been vaccinated eight months ago. To get a sense of what Israel is seeing, that may give us guidance to the next steps here in the US, we turn now to Sharon Alroy-Preis, who is Israel’s director of public health services. She joins us from Jerusalem. Good morning, Doctor.


JOHN DICKERSON: Thank you for being with us. So Israel is seeing the same thing we have in the states, an uptick in cases because of the Delta variant. What is the biggest concern for you with the Delta variant?

DR. ALROY-PREIS: So there are two major concerns. One is that the Delta variant is 50% more infectious than the previous, the Alpha variant, which was 50% more infectious than the original one. And we still have a third of our population that is not immunized or has not been recovered. We have a large children population. And so that is obviously concerning. The other point is that we are seeing about 50% of the people who are infected right now are vaccinated, fully vaccinated individuals. And so that is obviously of concern. Previously, we thought that vaccinated, fully vaccinated individuals are protected. We’re now see- we now see that the vaccine effectiveness against disease is roughly 40%. It still remains high for severe disease. But we are seeing diminished protection, especially for people who have been vaccinated earlier.

JOHN DICKERSON: So in that category of those where you’re seeing diminished protection, is it possible to break out what portion is diminished because they received the vaccine earlier? And what portion is- are those who’ve been vaccinated, who are infected, who have, for lack of a better term, a robust vaccine protection?

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