The Health Ministry is investigating if the Pfizer vaccine will be effective against the new South African COIV-19 strain.

“We do not know definitively how much the vaccine is effective against the South African mutation and it will be tested here too, because it includes several mutations and Pfizer tested only one mutation and that is not enough,” Health Ministry Central District Officer Ofra Havkin said at Thursday’s meeting of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

“Therefore there is a concern and we want as much as possible to stop the South African variant from spreading,” she said.

Havkin also said that the British variant had spread throughout the United Kingdom and also in Israel. She noted that at the beginning of December 2% to 3% of people screened carried the British mutation. Now, 50% of those screened for the variant test positive.

According to Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, acting chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians, genetic screening for mutations is a common part of Israel’s public health practices.

“The fear of the mutation is clear,” Davidovich said. “The question is whether it is right in terms of public trust to make people isolate straight away in hotels or to require home isolation but enforce it.”