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Harefuah ; 160(5):285-290, 2021.
Article in Hebrew | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1239393


INTRODUCTION: Immunization against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Israel began on December 2020, using the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. Individuals aged 60 years or older and medical staff were prioritized in COVID-19 immunization, and currently individuals aged 16 years or older are eligible to receive the vaccine. To achieve levels of community immunity (herd immunity) immunization of 60-70% of the population is required. As of mid-February 2021, about 42% of the population in Israel received the first vaccine dose, and the coverage exceeded 70% in individuals aged 50 years or older. Despite this success, the rates of COVID-19 immunization are lower in the ultraorthodox and Arab populations compared to the general Jewish population. We reviewed factors that might affect acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines. Factors that might influence the individual's willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 include concerns about the safety of the vaccine, recommendations by employers and treating physicians. Moreover, differences were found in the willingness to be vaccinated according to socio-demographic characteristics, such as employment, age and gender groups, and even political affiliation. Minority populations are vulnerable to misinformation about vaccines. The Arab and the ultraorthodox populations are the main minority groups in Israel, and characterized by lifestyle, and low socio-economic status, which increased, among other factors, the incidence of COVID-19 in these populations. To improve vaccine uptake in the ultraorthodox and Arab populations, there is an urgent need for better tailored solutions to the unique needs of these minority populations, which comprise main risk groups for misinformation related to COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, a better understanding of the reasons for low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in these populations is warranted. These activities should be undertaken in parallel to continuous efforts towards reducing socio-economic disparities between sub-population groups.

Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3461, 2021 02 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1078603


Despite ongoing efforts to characterize the host response toward SARS-CoV-2, a major gap in our knowledge still exists regarding the magnitude and duration of the humoral response. Analysis of the antibody response in mild versus moderate/severe patients, using our new developed quantitative electrochemiluminescent assay for detecting IgM/IgA/IgG antibodies toward SARS-CoV-2 antigens, revealed a rapid onset of IgG/IgA antibodies, specifically in moderate/severe patients. IgM antibodies against the viral receptor binding domain, but not against nucleocapsid protein, were detected at early stages of the disease. Furthermore, we observed a marked reduction in IgM/IgA antibodies over-time. Adapting our assay for ACE2 binding-competition, demonstrated that the presence of potentially neutralizing antibodies is corelated with IgG/IgA. Finally, analysis of the cytokine profile in COVID-19 patients revealed unique correlation of an IL-12p70/IL33 and IgG seroconversion, which correlated with disease severity. In summary, our comprehensive analysis has major implications on the understanding and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Interleukin-12/blood , Interleukin-33/blood , Seroconversion/physiology , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Severity of Illness Index