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Israel COVID uptick shows vaccines help but are no panacea

As Asia accelerates shots, signs point to virus becoming endemic like flu

A teenager receives a COVID-19 vaccine dose in Tel Aviv on June 21, after authorities urged parents to get their kids inoculated amid school outbreaks.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Israel, the country that has fully vaccinated the largest share of its population against COVID-19, is back on alert as infections rise and experts increasingly suspect the virus may stick around like the flu.

The small Middle Eastern state has verified over 100 new cases for four straight days this week -- a modest rise compared with many countries, but the highest numbers since April. The increase is largely being blamed on the more infectious delta variant spreading in schools, spurring a push to vaccinate adolescents ages 12 to 15.

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