A prominent member of Israel’s COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Committee has resigned in protest of the decision to recommend vaccines to pregnant women.
Professor Eran Dolev has resigned from the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Vaccine Prioritization Committee because of the committee recommending pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Dolev, the former chairman of the Israel Medical Association’s ethical board, left his position because the committee ignored his warnings about testing the vaccines on pregnant women with limited studies available.
“Such a vaccine has not been tested by any company and has not been approved by the FDA,” Dolev stated in reference to the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, Dolev is correct that the vaccines have only been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under “Emergency Use Authorization”, not the full approval process drugs must typically pass through before approval for public use.
In a phone interview with Keshet 12 News, Dolev stated that when the committee rejected his opinion that pregnant women should not be vaccinated, he encouraged the committee to have pregnant women sign an “informed consent form”. This suggestion was also rejected by the Vaccine Prioritization Committee.
Dolev’s statements come on the heels of reports that pregnant women who are vaccinated may pass along protection to their babies. Reuters reported that according to new research conducted in February, antibodies were detected in all 20 women administered both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during their third trimester of pregnancy and in their newborns. The research was conducted by Jerusalem’s Hadassah- University Medical Center.
“Our findings highlight that vaccination of pregnant women may provide maternal and neonatal protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the study said. However, the researchers noted the small size of the study. Additionally, the study has not been officially published or peer-reviewed.
As Israel debates whether or not to vaccinate pregnant women, the country is already moving in a controversial direction with its new “Green Pass” program. Under the initiative, only citizens who have received both COVID-19 vaccines will be granted access to gyms, hotels, swimming pools, concerts, and places of worship. Restaurants and bars will be included eventually as well. The Green Pass comes in the form of a digital app with a QR code that must be scanned to prove immunization status.
“This is how the first stage will look in the return to your almost normal lives,” the health minister, Yuli Edelstein, told Reuters.