Israel’s ICUs overflow as unvaccinated patients fall severely ill


As coronavirus cases continue to surge across Israel, the country’s hospitals say their intensive care units (ICUs) are working overtime to deal with the flow of new COVID patients, most of whom apparently were not vaccinated.

Despite conducting one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, Israel has been struggling to contain the highly contagious delta variant. Last weekend, health officials reported the tally of severely ill coronavirus patients has reached over 500 for the first time in months.

Hospitals in the centre of the countries said they have begun transferring serious patients to be treated at Jerusalem’s medical centres, where more beds were available.

Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem has even announced it would open an additional COVID ward last Sunday to meet the demand. According to Kan Public Radio, some elective medical procedures will be cancelled to free hospital teams and bolster COVID ward staffing in many hospitals.

A COVID ward at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem on Saturday – Photo by Amit Shabi

Professor Zvi Fridlander from the Hadassah Medical Centre, said the unvaccinated population was responsible for the fourth wave of coronavirus the country is now experiencing.

“My anger is directed at the million or so who did not get their vaccines,” he said, adding that he often hears from unvaccinated patients about how sorry they were for refusing the jabs.

Dr. Noa Eliakim-Raz at the Rabin Medical Centre in Petach Tikva said only one patient out of those hospitalised in the ICU, was vaccinated.

“The safety of vaccines has been proven, after a billion people around the world have already been vaccinated,” she said. “The unvaccinated patients are young and very ill. It is heart-breaking and at the same time baffling,” she said.

“By the time they come to us, there is no point in asking why they failed to get their shots. I am sure, had they understood the suffering of patients and their families, and the terror felt by them when their health deteriorates, they would have acted differently,” Eliakim said.

Both physicians said the medical teams were exhausted, overwhelmed and frightened after fighting the virus on the front lines since it first erupted over a year ago.

Dr. Eliakin, however, insists the teams were dedicated and committed to the fight. “People are working tirelessly and are fully committed.’’

“The more people have immunity, the better off we will be. We will need boosters periodically and with new variants, morbidity will rise – just like other diseases evolve – but in time we will learn more about COVID and how best to live with it,” she said.

Editors Notes:

Hadassah Hospital Covid Update:

There are 31 patients at Ein Kerem, 15 in serious condition and 8 in critical condition in the ICU. Most of those hospitalised are unvaccinated.

Hadassah UK proudly support Hadassah Hospital’s mission of peaceful coexistence, dedication to saving lives today, and finding medical solutions for a world of tomorrow.


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