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1.
Isr J Health Policy Res ; 11(1): 18, 2022 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793819

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Adequate iodine intake is essential for human health, for normal thyroid function, and for attainment of full intellectual potential in children. In light of Israel's lack of a mandatory salt fortification policy, heavy reliance on desalination and low iodine intake from dairy products and seafood, there is concern in Israel that the population is iodine deficient. Indeed, the first Israeli National Iodine Survey in 2016 found a median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) of 83 µg/L among school age children, falling below the WHO's adequacy range of 100-299 µg/L for children. METHODS: In the framework of the National Human Biomonitoring Program in Israel, spot urine samples and questionnaire data were collected from 166 healthy children aged 4-12 years in 2020-2021. Urinary iodine concentrations were measured at the Ministry of Health National Biomonitoring Laboratory, using mass spectrometry. An international comparison of median urinary iodine concentrations (UIC) was performed taking into consideration the levels of desalinated water per capita, and fortification policies. RESULTS: The overall median (interquartile range [IQR]) UIC was 80.1 µg/L (44.7-130.8 µg/L) indicating that the population's iodine status has not improved in the five years that have passed since inadequacy was first identified. When comparing 13 countries with population size above 150,000, whose desalinated water per capita was at least 1 m3, Israel and Lebanon were the only countries with median UIC below the WHO adequacy range. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need for mandatory salt fortification in Israel. Based on our international comparison, we conclude that the potential impact of desalination on iodine intake can be compensated for using the implementation of salt fortification policy. This study highlights the critical need for public health surveillance of nutritional and environmental exposures using human biomonitoring, with emphasis on vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children.


Subject(s)
Biological Monitoring , Iodine , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Food, Fortified , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Pregnancy
2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1971, 2022 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788288

ABSTRACT

Israel began administering a BNT162b2 booster dose to restore protection following the waning of the 2-dose vaccine. Biological studies have shown that a "fresh" booster dose leads to increased antibody levels compared to a fresh 2-dose vaccine, which may suggest increased effectiveness. To compare the real-world effectiveness of a fresh (up to 60 days) booster dose with that of a fresh 2-dose vaccine, we took advantage of a quasi-experimental study that compares populations that were eligible to receive the vaccine at different times due to age-dependent policies. Specifically, we compared the confirmed infection rates in adolescents aged 12-14 (215,653 individuals) who received the 2-dose vaccine and in adolescents aged 16-18 (103,454 individuals) who received the booster dose. Our analysis shows that the confirmed infection rate was lower by a factor of 3.7 (95% CI: 2.7 to 5.2) in the booster group.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Israel , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Isr Med Assoc J ; 24(4): 215-218, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787084

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread. OBJECTIVES: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020. METHODS: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics. RESULTS: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17-20, none of the swabs (47-97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data. CONCLUSIONS: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Pneumonia , Respiratory Tract Infections , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Israel/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sentinel Surveillance
4.
Int J Public Health ; 67: 1604133, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785464

ABSTRACT

Objectives: We investigated the causes of low COVID-19 vaccination rates among a minority population and highlighted interventions for increasing the vaccination rate. Methods: We reviewed the experience during the mass vaccination campaign period among the Arab Bedouin (AB) in Israel, attempting to determine important causes of low vaccination rates and gathered information from real-life experience and through direct contact with the population during the campaign. Results: Causes for low vaccination rates in the AB are related to the health system infrastructure, crisis management strategies, and population characteristics. Long-standing socioeconomic inequalities, limited resources, and language and culture barriers present special challenges to the task of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Key interventions for increasing vaccination rates among minority populations include raising awareness, improving vaccination access, and directly targeting risk-groups. To maximize the effectiveness of these interventions they should be culturally adapted and executed according to the needs of each individual target community. Conclusion: Culturally adapted awareness campaigns, interventions, and improved access to vaccines can be accomplished by cooperation between relevant governing and community bodies to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among minorities.


Subject(s)
Arabs , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Minority Groups , Vaccination
5.
Isr J Health Policy Res ; 11(1): 20, 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785170

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role of professionals in designing and communicating effective policies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of trust in the COVID-19 national public health policy among public health professionals in Israel and its correlates during the first wave of the pandemic. METHODS: A purposive sampling of public health professionals in Israel, through professional and academic public health networks (N = 112). The survey was distributed online during May 2020. Level of trust was measured by the mean of 18 related statements using a 5-point Likert scale, where 1 means not at all and 5 means to a very high extent, and grouped as low and high trust by median (2.75). RESULTS: A moderate level of trust in policy was found among professionals (Mean: 2.84, 95% Cl: [2.70, 2.98]). The level of trust among public health physicians was somewhat lower than among researchers and other health professionals (Mean: 2.66 vs. 2.81 and 2.96, respectively, p = 0.286), with a higher proportion expressing low trust (70% vs. 51% and 38%, respectively, p < 0.05). Participants with a low compared to high level of trust in policy were less supportive of the use of Israel Security Agency tools for contact tracing (Mean = 2.21 vs. 3.17, p < 0.01), and reported lower levels of trust in the Ministry of Health (Mean = 2.52 vs. 3.91, p < 0.01). A strong positive correlation was found between the level of trust in policy and the level of trust in the Ministry of Health (rs = 0.782, p < 0.01). Most professionals (77%) rated their involvement in decision making as low or not at all, and they reported a lower level of trust in policy than those with high involvement (Mean = 2.76 vs. 3.12, p < 0.05). Regarding trust in the ability of agencies to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, respondents reported high levels of trust in the Association of Public Health Physicians (80%) and in hospitals (79%), but very low levels of trust in the Minister of Health (5%). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that Israeli public health professionals exhibited moderate levels of trust in COVID-19 national public health policy and varied levels of trust in government agencies during the first wave of COVID-19. The level of trust in policy was lower among most of the participants who were not involved in decision making. The level of trust found is worrisome and should be monitored, because it may harm cooperation, professional response, and public trust. Professionals' trust in policy-making during early stages of emergencies is important, and preemptive measures should be considered, such as involving professionals in the decision-making process, maintaining transparency of the process, and basing policy on scientific and epidemiological evidence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , Public Policy , Trust
6.
Front Public Health ; 10: 777678, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775981

ABSTRACT

Background: Promoting quality and patient safety is one of the health policy pillars of Israel's Ministry of Health. Communication among healthcare professionals is of utmost importance and can be improved using a standardized, well-known handoff tool such as the Introduction, Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendations (ISBAR). This study aims to present implementation process and participants' satisfaction of a national project that used a standardized tool for team communication. Methods: This national intervention project included process implementation teams from 17 Israeli general hospitals evaluating the ISBAR implementation process for transferring patients from intensive care units to medical/surgical wards. The project, conducted between January 2017 and March 2018, used Fischer's test and logistic regression. The project evaluation was based on the participants' assessment of and satisfaction with the handoff process. Results: Eighty-seven process implementers completed the questionnaire. A statistically significant increase in satisfaction scores in terms of four variables (p < 0.001) was observed following the implementation of the project. Nurses reported higher satisfaction at the end of the process (0.036). Participants who perceived less missing information during handoffs were more satisfied with the process of information flow between wards (84.9%) than those who perceived more missing information (15.6%). Participants who responded that there was no need to improve information flow were more satisfied with the project information flow (95.6%) compared to the group which responded that it was necessary to improve information flow (58.2%). Three out of four variables predicted satisfaction with the process. Being a nurse also predicted satisfaction with information flow with a point estimate of 2.4. The C value of the total model was 0.87. Conclusions: Implementation of a safety project at a national level requires careful planning and the close involvement of the participating teams. A standardized instrument, a well-defined process, and external controls to monitor and manage the project are essential for success. Disparities found in the responses of nurses vs. physicians suggest the need for a different approach for each profession in planning and executing a similar project in the future.


Subject(s)
Hospitals, General , Patient Handoff , Patient Safety , Communication , Humans , Israel
7.
Euro Surveill ; 27(13)2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775605

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19 vaccine safety is of major interest worldwide, since there is no prior experience with it. Israel was one of the first countries to widely use the Comirnaty vaccine.AimWe aimed to assess the vaccine's short-term side effects directly from a large population and to predict influencing factors for self-reporting side effects.MethodsIn a retrospective cohort study, we investigated self-reported systemic vaccine side-effects using electronic surveys sent to vaccinated individuals between 20 December 2020 and 11 March 2021, within 3 days following administration of the first and second dose. We determined predictors for reporting systemic side effects by logistic regression.ResultsA total of 1,213,693 patients received at least one vaccine dose and 301,537 (24.8%) answered at least one survey. Among them, 68,162 (30.4%) and 89,854 (59.9%) individuals filled the first and the second dose surveys, respectively, and reported one or more side effects. Most common side effects were fatigue, headache and myalgia. Several respondents reported facial paraesthesia after first and second dose, respectively (n = 1,675; 0.7% and n = 1,601; 1.1%). Individuals younger than 40 years and women reported side effects more frequently than others, but pregnant women reported less. Pregnancy was a weak predictor for reporting any side effect in general and in particular fatigue, myalgia, headache, chills and fever.ConclusionsWe found further support for minor short-term side effects, within 3 days of receiving the Comirnaty vaccine. These findings from vaccine recipients in general and pregnant women in particular can improve vaccine acceptance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires , Vaccination/adverse effects
8.
Front Public Health ; 10: 855468, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1771121

ABSTRACT

Because public healthcare workers (HCWs) are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, they must be able to provide vaccination information to their patients and respond to their anxieties and concerns. This research objectives were to (1) examine physicians' perceptions of how they received information about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, their attitudes toward hesitant colleagues, and their own knowledge and self-efficacy in communicating information to their patients, and (2) to examine the public's perceptions of physicians' knowledge when recommending the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. At the beginning of the vaccination campaign, a survey examined the attitudes of physicians in the Israeli public healthcare system (n = 295) regarding the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, the attitudes of a representative sample (n = 500) of the Israeli adult population (age 18+) were examined through interviews. Most of the participating physicians (81%) reported they had already been vaccinated or intended to be vaccinated. When asked about their reasons for vaccine hesitancy, 27% cited concerns about long-term side effects and doubts about the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing contagion. They cited system pressure and departmental norms as explanations for their eventual compliance. Moreover, they saw the system as less tolerant of hesitant physicians, while they themselves tend to be more tolerant. The results of the survey of the public showed that mostly young people (under 44) who tend to be critical believe that physicians do not have sufficient knowledge to make recommendations about the COVID-19 vaccine. The findings indicate that the health system should employ complete transparency in conveying the advantages and disadvantages of the COVID-19 vaccine to physicians. The system should be more tolerant of physicians' worries and concerns and grant legitimacy to their reservations and misgivings. Moreover, medical studies should reinforce physicians' immunological knowledge regarding vaccinations so they can help their patients make informed decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians , Vaccines , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Immunization Programs , Israel
9.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0265659, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759957

ABSTRACT

The current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has elicited widespread concerns and stress. Arguably, healthcare workers are especially vulnerable to experience burnout during these times due to the nature of their work. Indeed, high prevalence of burnout was found among healthcare workers during the outbreak. However, the individual differences predicting burnout among healthcare workers during the pandemic have been understudied. The aim of the current study was, therefore, to identify risk and protective factors contributing to the severity of burnout among healthcare workers, above and beyond levels of current psychological distress. The survey was distributed online during the period April 13-28, 2020, approximately two months after the first COVID-19 case was identified in Israel. Ninety-eight healthcare workers completed an online survey administered cross-sectionally via the Qualtrics platform that included questionnaires assessing habitual emotion regulation strategies (i.e., trait worry, reappraisal, and suppression), psychological distress, COVID-19 related concerns, and burnout. A hierarchical linear regression analysis revealed that only trait worry and psychological distress were significant predictors of job burnout among healthcare workers. These findings highlight the role of maladaptive emotion regulation tendencies, specifically trait worry, in job burnout among healthcare workers. These findings have implications for both the assessment and treatment of healthcare workers. We discuss potential mechanisms and implications for practice.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional , COVID-19 , Emotional Regulation , Psychological Distress , Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , Burnout, Psychological , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Isr J Health Policy Res ; 11(1): 16, 2022 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759780

ABSTRACT

Vaccine hesitancy is an important feature of every vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination is not an exception. During the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine hesitancy has exhibited different phases and has shown both temporal and spatial variation in these phases. This has likely arisen due to varied socio-behavioural characteristics of humans and their response towards COVID 19 pandemic and its vaccination strategies. This commentary highlights that there are multiple phases of vaccine hesitancy: Vaccine Eagerness, Vaccine Ignorance, Vaccine Resistance, Vaccine Confidence, Vaccine Complacency and Vaccine Apathy. Though the phases seem to be sequential, they may co-exist at the same time in different regions and at different times in the same region. This may be attributed to several factors influencing the phases of vaccine hesitancy. The complexities of the societal reactions need to be understood in full to be addressed better. There is a dire need of different strategies of communication to deal with the various nuances of all of the phases. To address of vaccine hesitancy, an understanding of the societal reactions leading to various phases of vaccine hesitancy is of utmost importance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Israel , Pandemics , Patient Acceptance of Health Care
11.
Jpn J Infect Dis ; 75(2): 144-147, 2022 Mar 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1761194

ABSTRACT

With the spread of coronavirus disease, reports have indicated that young patients are usually asymptomatic with a short convalescence period. The current study compared the time to resolution of infection in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Seventy-six patients aged 44.4 ± 23.3 years were admitted to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) unit during the study period. Data were collected from patient records. Throat and nasal swabs for COVID-19 were collected for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Time to resolution of infection was defined as the number of days from the date of the first COVID-19 positive outcome to the second consecutive negative PCR results. Most patients showed COVID-19 signs and symptoms (71.1%) between 1 and 6 days, and the rest were asymptomatic. No association was found between the time to resolution of infection and the presence of COVID-19 signs and symptoms (symptomatic: median [Md] 10.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 8.4-11.6; asymptomatic: Md 15.0, 95% CI 10.5-15.5; P = 0.54). Age was not correlated with the number of COVID-19 signs and symptoms (r = 0.13, P = 0.37) or with the time to resolution of infection (r = 0.06, P = 0.58). In patients with mild to moderate symptoms, the time to resolution of infection from COVID-19 is not different from that in asymptomatic patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Hospitalization , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22120, 2021 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758321

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the drastic measures taken to mitigate its spread through imposed social distancing, have brought forward the need to better understand the underlying factors controlling spatial distribution of human activities promoting disease transmission. Focusing on results from 17,250 epidemiological investigations performed during early stages of the pandemic outbreak in Israel, we show that the distribution of carriers of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, is spatially correlated with two satellite-derived surface metrics: night light intensity and landscape patchiness, the latter being a measure to the urban landscape's scale-dependent spatial heterogeneity. We find that exposure to SARS-CoV-2 carriers was significantly more likely to occur in "patchy" parts of the city, where the urban landscape is characterized by high levels of spatial heterogeneity at relatively small, tens of meters scales. We suggest that this spatial association reflects a scale-dependent constraint imposed by the city's morphology on the cumulative behavior of the people inhabiting it. The presented results shed light on the complex interrelationships between humans and the urban landscape in which they live and interact, and open new avenues for implementation of multi-satellite data in large scale modeling of phenomena centered in urban environments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities/epidemiology , Human Activities , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Satellite Imagery , Urban Population
13.
Isr J Health Policy Res ; 10(1): 46, 2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1724549

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Only several empirical studies have examined substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic in general populations. Most of these studies compared self-reported substances use before the pandemic and during the pandemic's early stages. This study aims to identify the changes in substance use between the early and later waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey recruited 750 participants (ages 18-65) in two waves: (1) 427 during and following the first lockdown (April-mid-May, 2020); and (2) 323 following the second lockdown (from October to mid-November, 2020). RESULTS: Participants who experienced two lockdowns reported more frequent consumption of all alcoholic beverages and cannabis in the last 30 days than those who experienced one lockdown. After controlling for demographic variables, significant differences were found between participants who experienced one lockdown and those who experienced two lockdowns in the consumption of alcoholic beverages (F(1, 742) = 6.90, p = .01, η2 = .01). However, there was no significant association between pandemic duration and other illegal drug consumption. CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant association between pandemic duration and alcohol consumption. Policymakers and practitioners should develop national alcohol and cannabis use prevention and harm reduction interventions during pandemics with a focus on men, singles and youth.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Marijuana Use/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Sex Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , Time Factors , Young Adult
14.
FASEB J ; 36(4): e22223, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722599

ABSTRACT

The concentration of SARS-CoV-2-specific serum antibodies, elicited by vaccination or infection, is a primary determinant of anti-viral immunity, which correlates with protection against infection and COVID-19. Serum samples were obtained from 25 897 participants and assayed for anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD IgG antibodies. The cohort was composed of newly vaccinated BNT162b2 recipients, in the first month or 6 months after vaccination, COVID-19 patients and a general sample of the Israeli population. Antibody levels of BNT162b2 vaccine recipients were negatively correlated with age, with a prominent decrease in recipients over 55 years old, which was most significant in males. This trend was observable within the first month and 6 months after vaccination, while younger participants were more likely to maintain stable levels of serum antibodies. The antibody concentration of participants previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 was lower than the vaccinated and had a more complex, non-linear relation to age, sex and COVID-19 symptoms. Taken together, our data supports age and sex as primary determining factors for both the magnitude and durability of humoral response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the COVID-19 vaccine. Our results could inform vaccination policies, prioritizing the most susceptible populations for repeated vaccination.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunoglobulin G/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Israel , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
15.
Rev Cardiovasc Med ; 23(2): 50, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1716431

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has significantly the delivery of healthcare all around the world. In part, an abnormal and unexplained high non-COVID-related cardiovascular mortality rate was reported during the outbreak. We assess the correlation between anxiety level and decision to seek medical care (DSMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We recruited patients with cardiovascular complaints admitted to the emergency department in a single institute in Israel between February and September 2020. Anxiety level was measured using available questionnaires. DSMC was assessed with a newly designed questionnaire (DM-19). RESULTS: Two-hundreds seventy patients were included in the study. The mean age was 52.6 ± 14.9 (females represent 36.2%). 23.6% of the patients had at least moderate cardiovascular risk. High anxiety levels were (HAL) reported in nearly half of the patients (57.1% and 49.8% for General Anxiety Disorder Assessment [GAD-7] and Beck Anxiety Inventory [BAI], respectively). It was more prevalent in old, married, and unemployed patients (significant p-value for all in both questionnaires). Age was an independent factor (χ2 = 6.33, p < 0.001, odds-ratio: 4.8) and had a positive correlation on anxiety level (r = 0.81, p < 0.001 and r = 0.62, p < 0.001, for GAD-7 and BAI, respectively). The DM-19 revealed a strong and positive correlation of seeking medical care with anxiety level (R2 linear = 0.44, r = 0.70, p < 0.001 and R2 linear = 0.30, r = 0.58, p < 0.001 for GAD-7 and BAI, respectively) and results in deferring medical care for several days than patient with low anxiety level (p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: We observed an abnormal prevalence of a high level of anxiety among non-COVID patients with cardiovascular complaints, which affected the patient's likelihood to seek medical care and resulted in an unreasonable postponement of medical treatment. Our results may explain cardiovascular mortality trends during the outbreak and should be considered in health crisis management. Future studies will involve multi-institutional efforts to address reproducibility of our findings across geographic regions in the state of the global impact. Additionally, it is imperative to understand the effects of the coronavirus vaccine on patient consideration to seek medical care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Depression/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2
16.
J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci ; 77(4): e83-e94, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704272

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Optimistic bias refers to the phenomenon that individuals believe bad things are less likely to happen to themselves than to others. However, whether optimistic bias could vary across age and culture is unknown. The present study aims to investigate (a) whether individuals exhibit optimistic bias in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and (b) whether age and culture would moderate such bias. METHOD: 1,051 participants recruited from China, Israel, and the United States took the online survey. Risk perceptions consist of 3 questions: estimating the infected probability of different social distance groups (i.e., self, close others, and nonclose others), the days that it would take for the number of new infections to decrease to zero and the trend of infections in regions of different geographical distances (i.e., local place, other places inside participants' country, and other countries). Participants in China and the United States also reported their personal communal values measured by Schwartz's Value Survey. RESULTS: Results from Hierarchical Linear Modeling generally confirmed that (a) all participants exhibited optimistic bias to some extent, and (b) with age, Chinese participants had a higher level of optimistic bias than the Israeli and U.S. participants. Compared to their younger counterparts, older Chinese are more likely to believe that local communities are at lower risk of COVID-19 than other countries. DISCUSSION: These findings support the hypothesis that age differences in risk perceptions might be influenced by cultural context. Further analysis indicated that such cultural and age variations in optimistic bias were likely to be driven by age-related increase in internalized cultural values.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Bias , COVID-19/epidemiology , China/epidemiology , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology
17.
Vaccine ; 40(13): 2053-2061, 2022 03 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692821

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To explore the associations between vaccine hesitancy and demographic and socio-economic characteristics, as well as perspective towards the COVID-19 and its vaccines. METHODS: Data were collected through four online surveys on Israel's representative sample in March (3/2 to 3/7, n = 1517), August (8/10-8/11, n = 925; 8/18-8/22, n = 1054), and September (9/22-9/24; n=1406), 2021. We employ a set of logistic regression models to explore the association between the vaccination action and intentions and the individual-level attributes. RESULTS: We find that individual characteristics, such as age, ethnicity/religiosity, and income, were associated with the vaccination action and intention during the early stage of vaccine distribution. However, most of the discrepancies across demographic groups have disappeared as time passed, and once we limit to those who had not been infected. Lastly, individuals' perspectives toward COVID-19 and its vaccines have prediction power as high as 39% of the vaccination action and intention, higher than their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. IMPLICATIONS: Our findings have the potential to facilitate efforts to increase vaccine uptake by targeting populations, which are the most likely to express hesitancy, and address reported barriers to receipt.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Intention , Israel/epidemiology , Public Opinion , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
18.
Isr J Health Policy Res ; 11(1): 13, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690872

ABSTRACT

Even in high-income countries like Israel, children have been particularly vulnerable to the surge in food insecurity driven by quarantines, unemployment, and economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, School Feeding Programs (SFPs) can help to ensure child food security. In the wake of the pandemic, policy makers worldwide have been challenged to adapt national SFPs to provide nutritional support to children (and indirectly to their families) during extended school closures. Most national SFPs implemented contingency plans to ensure continued nutritional support for children. In Israel, where SFPs were largely suspended during long periods of mandated school closing, there was a loss of 30-50% of feeding days for the ~ 454,000 children enrolled in the program. The lack of emergency contingency planning and failure to maintain Israeli SFPs during school closures reveals longstanding structural policy flaws that hindered coordination between relevant ministries and authorities and impeded the mobilization of funds and existing programs to meet the emergent need. The school feeding law does not identify child food security as an explicit aim, there are no benchmarks for monitoring and evaluating the program to ensure that the food aid reaches the children most in need, even routinely, and the Ministry of Education had no obligation to maintain the program and to marshal data on the participants that could be acted upon in the emergency. Moreover, because Israeli SFPs are "selective", in other words, implemented according to community risk (low-income, high poverty rate) and geographical factors, attendant stigma and financial burdens can make participation in the program less attractive to families and communities that need them the most. We argue that Israel should make urgent, long-term improvements to the SFPs as follows: First, eliminating childhood food insecurity should be made an explicit goal of legislation in the broader context of national social, health, and nutritional goals, and this includes ensuring SFPs are maintained during emergencies. Second, the government should assume responsibility for the routine assessment and data collection on food insecurity among Israeli children. Third, SFPs should be subjected to rigorous independent program evaluation. Finally, a "universal" SFP providing nutritious diets would likely improve the health of all Israeli children, across all socioeconomic backgrounds. These steps to guarantee that Israeli children have food to realize their full physical and cognitive potential would emphasize Israel's firm commitment to support multiple dimensions of health, educational achievement, and societal values, to combat the complex and long-term consequences of the pandemic, and to prepare for the next one.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Child , Food Insecurity , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Policy , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools
19.
Vox Sang ; 117(2): 185-192, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685455

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Passive immunization using investigational COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) is a promising therapeutic strategy and could improve outcome if transfused early and contain high levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. We report the management of a national CCP collection and distribution program in Israel. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 1 April 2020 to 15 January 2021, 4020 volunteer donors donated 5221 CCP units and 837 (20.8%) donors donated more than once. Anti-nucleocapsid IgG antibodies were determined using chemiluminescent immunoassay method (Abbott). A statistical model based on repeated IgG tests in sequential donations was created to predict the time of antibody decline below sample/cut-off (S/CO) level of 4.0. RESULTS: Ninety-six percent of CCP donors suffered a mild disease or were asymptomatic. Older donors had higher antibody levels. Higher antibody levels (S/CO ≥4) were detected in 35.2% of the donors. Low positive (S/CO ≥1.4-3.99) were found in 37%, and 27.8% had undetectable antibodies (S/CO ≤1.4). The model predicted decrease antibody thresholds of 0.55%/day since the first CCP donation, providing guidance for the effective timing of future collections from donors with high antibody levels. CONCLUSIONS: An efficient CCP collection and distribution program was achieved, based on performing initial and repeated plasma collections, preferably from donors with higher antibody levels, and only antibody-rich units were supplied for therapeutic use. The inventory met the quantity and quality standards of the authorities, enabled to respond to the growing demand of the medical system and provide a product that may contribute to improve prognosis in patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Blood Donors , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Israel , SARS-CoV-2
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