The Year in COVID-19: Highlights From Hadassah's Pandemic Response

December 28, 2021

The Year in COVID-19: Highlights From Hadassah's Pandemic Response

As we head into 2022, Israel is facing its fifth wave of COVID-19 and Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem is once again meeting the pandemic's challenges head on, reopening its Round Building Outbreak Unit.

Hadassah has leveraged its expertise to provide cutting-edge, compassionate care, treating more critically ill patients than any other Israeli hospital, including cases from the West Bank and Jordan. At the same time Hadassah research, data and protocols helped shape the global response to COVID. In 2021, our researchers were at the forefront when it came to understanding how vaccines impact myocarditis, pregnancy, infertility, infant immunity and new protocols for treatment.

Every day in 2021 we felt the presence of COVID-19 in our lives. These 10 stories provide just a small glimpse into the many moments Hadassah was there, bringing healing to patients in Israel and hope to people around the world.  

Hadassah's Hospitals
1. Hadassah Study Reports Incidence of Myocarditis After Pfizer Vaccine
A major report directed by Prof. Dror Mevorach of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, published in October in TheNew England Journal of Medicine, found that out of 5 million Israeli recipients of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, only 136 people developed myocarditis. Of those, 129 cases were mild.

2. Interest Grows in 3 Experimental Covid Treatments
In August, Israel21c reported on Hadassah COVID-19 treatments in development, including Allocetra™, an immunotherapy treatment given as a one-time dose by IV.

3. "Dealing with Another COVID Wave Is Emotionally Hard," Doctor Says
During the fourth wave in Israel, as the number of hospitalized patients surged, so did the pressure on medical staff. Hadassah's hospitals began developing protocols to strengthen psychological resilience, as staff drew comfort in being together and sharing the burden.

4. Saving COVID-19 Patients Through Innovation
We aim to make life better for people in terrible pain when no one else will treat them,” says Dr. Rawhi Hashem of Hadassah Ein Kerem, whose innovative method of manually turning COVID patients to help eliminate the need for ventilators -- a boon to resource-challenged countries such as India -- was introduced in the summer of 2021.

Global Response
5. Hadassah's COVID-19 Mission Arrives in Argentina
In April, a delegation from Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem traveled to Argentina to share critical expertise with frontline professionals. Among other topics, the delegation, hosted by President Alberto Fernández and his government, discussed starting a phase III study of a vaccine tested at Hadassah.

6. Israel's COVID-19 Mission to Romania Helping to Formulate a Way Forward
In the fall of 2021 when Romania had more COVID cases than any other European country, Hadassah's Dr. Marc Romain traveled to Romania as part of an Israeli medical delegation to provide expertise on how best to fight the surge.

7. The Mexican Jewish Community Honors Hadassah for Its Help During the Pandemic
With skyrocketing cases and a large elderly population, the Mexican Jewish community reached out to Hadassah. In response, hospital staff recommended a new testing regimen in nursing homes. In October 2021, the community gave Hadassah a “Tree of Life” award for saving Mexican lives.

The Personal in the Pandemic
8. A COVID-19 Volunteer Recalls the People She Comforted
In October 2021, former COVID-19 patient Hinda Hekelman was volunteering three times a week at Hadassah's COVID-19 unit with her husband, providing comfort and conversation to the isolated patients.

Pregnancy and COVID-19
9. Protecting the Yet-to-Be-Born from COVID-19
Maternal vaccinations offer better protection for newborns when given between the 27th and 31st weeks of pregnancy, according to a study by Hadassah researchers including Dr. Dana Wolf, published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection in November 2021.

10. Having a Baby in a Time of COVID
“We are experiencing a baby boom," said Hadassah Ein Kerem's Prof. Simcha Yagel, head of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in early 2021. "The word is out that we will accept pregnant women with COVID when others won't.” From early on, Dr. Yagel has urged pregnant women to get vaccinated.

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