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Israeli mainstream media and Health Ministry still clinging to the COVID narrative

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Real Time Magazine, known by its Hebrew name, “Zman Emet (זמן אמת),” claims that the worldwide vaccine campaign is being abandoned by those who appear to be jumping ship.

So, it’s perplexing to them why Israel’s Ministry of Health, along with Israeli mainstream media, has been unable to make a course correction and abandon the narrative still being pushed by both of them.

All of this, after recent and startling revelations came to light on Jan. 11 when "a series of experts who all serve as advisors to the FDA and the CDC were interviewed by CNN, and claimed that they were "disappointed" and "angry" that government scientists and the pharmaceutical company Moderna withheld important data on the effectiveness of the company's new bivalent booster, adjusted to the omicron strain, during meetings in June and September when the advisers discussed whether the shot should be authorized and made available to the public."

Despite promises of efficacy, perhaps, justifying the $5 billion which was spent on the undertaking, data seems to indicate that it may not live up to its ambitious advertising of preventing transmission of the virus, any better than its predecessor.

It wasn’t just because the new booster has failed to perform as expected, but as far as the many expert physicians and advisors were concerned, 48.2 million Americans, who already opted to get the shot, did so without being fully informed as to how it would truly work. This has far-reaching consequences, as far as they’re concerned, since advisory committee meetings are streamed “and regulatory agencies around the world use the information to help make decisions about vaccines in their countries.” In short, they’re saying that health agencies within other countries relied upon misleading and incomplete information in order to encourage more vaccine distribution among their populations.

A similar article ran in TIME entitled, Data Doesn’t Support New COVID-19 Booster Shots for Most, Says Vaccine Expert citing Dr. Paul Offit who said, in the New England Journal of Medicine, “it’s time to rethink booster recommendations.” Offit goes on to confirm the findings of the experts interviewed on CNN, stating, “The latest data show that the newest booster shot, which targets the Omicron BA.4/5 strain and original virus variants in a bivalent formulation, isn’t that much more effective in generating virus-fighting antibodies than the original vaccine when used as a booster. The experience of the past year has taught us that chasing these Omicron variants with a bivalent vaccine is a losing game.”

Yet another renowned physician on COVID, Dr. Marty Makary appeared on Fox News’, The Ingraham Angle, on Jan. 24, also stating that “there has been no randomized control trial of the bivalent vaccine whose efficacy is unknown and that Moderna had hidden data that the bivalent vaccine they developed actually had more infections in the vaccine arm of the trial than in the placebo arm, stating that experts were “pretty upset that they hadn’t seen that data.” 

He further advised that “if there is a vaccine, it should be accompanied by a warning label that there is an increased risk of clots that goes up by about 50%, including pulmonary embolism, that there is a risk of myocarditis and death that has now been established and that it shows up in breast milk in lactating mothers.”

Add to all of these findings the recent announcement by the CDC and FDA, stating that an investigation should be undertaken in order to find out more about concerns of ischemic stroke in people 65 and older following taking the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, known as the bivalent booster.

Then there is British physician, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a highly-esteemed cardiologist who stated, during an interview with the BBC, that “a likely contributory factor to excess cardiovascular deaths in the UK is the Covid mRNA vaccine,” calling for “the suspension of these vaccines pending an inquiry.”

Does anyone think it’s possible that the Israeli Ministry of Health has not been aware of these many updates which have alerted the public to possible dangers and the need to take a pause in what we still don’t fully know?

And what about the media? As far as the English newspapers in Israel, the latest booster is still being touted as a very desirable choice to avoid infection. 

Maybe a better question is why were we, here in Israel, the first to jump on the COVID vaccine bandwagon, convincing our population that we were the “Chosen People” to have the good fortune to be poised to save ourselves and then the rest of the world, once they would see the wonderful results?

There is a well-known saying in the Bible, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Perhaps, the time has come when we should admit that it was wrong to be first, because, by doing so, we may have taken a great risk with the welfare of over 9 million citizens, or at least the 65.8% of them who received two doses. We were, in fact, so sure that being the first was such an advantage, that great pains were taken to coerce the unwilling to join the club, lest they lose a host of social freedoms and liberties, of which they were deemed to be unworthy to partake.

Now that we know better, what is the excuse for being the last – the last to admit we were wrong or possibly even duped? Will we further dig our heels in deeper for the sake of not losing face? As they say, to err is human, and if the preponderance of experts says that we have been wrong – simply because we have incomplete data, insufficient testing and inconclusive but suspicious concerns – then why should we not stop dead in our tracks?

Yes, the jury may still be out, and a pause looks prudent, so can we be honest with each other long enough to display the needed concern for one another as fellow members of the House of Israel? This is no time for misplaced pride or a dug-in stubbornness. 

The Israeli mainstream media and our Health Ministry have a solemn responsibility to its citizens. It’s time for us to move to the head of the line and categorically say that we will no longer push a narrative which, each day, is crumbling before our eyes. 

Let’s do the right thing and adhere to our famous creed, “Am Israel Chai,” – The People of Israel Live!

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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