Israel’s Health Ministry recommended on Tuesday that pregnant women be vaccinated following a rash of cases of pregnant women becoming critically ill after contracting the virus, a phenomenon that health officials believe is linked to the British virus variant.
The British variant is rapidly spreading through Israel, particularly in the Chareidi sector. There are currently ten pregnant women – all Chareidi – who are critically ill after contracting the coronavirus. It has been confirmed that at least three of the women, and very possibly more, were carrying the British variant after Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of the Health Ministry’s Public Health Division, ordered hospitals to send the ill women’s samples to the Health Ministry’s Central Virology Laboratory for genetic sequencing testing.
The Rav of Bnei Brak, HaRav Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, asked HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky on Wednesday whether pregnant women should get vaccinated and HaRav Chaim responded that they should and gave a bracha that no harm should result from it.
“There is no evidence of harm resulting from vaccination during the entire course of pregnancy,” the Health Ministry stated. “There is a higher incidence of severe illness in pregnant women who contract the coronavirus and become ill than in a similar age population.”
In addition to the apparent virulent effect of the British variant on pregnant women, it has also led to an increase of virus cases in young children and teenagers.
Furthermore, according to health officials, when a household member becomes infected with the British variant, all members of the household become infected within 48 hours, unlike the original virus, when not all household members necessarily contracted the virus after one member became infected.