January 20, 2022

Image credit: ft.com

COVID-19: Israel intends to administer the fourth dosage of vaccination to anyone aged 60 and up

All people over the age of 60, as well as healthcare workers in Israel, should receive a fourth dosage of the COVID-19 vaccination, according to a government council of specialists. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the action, saying it will help the country weather future Omicron waves.

So far, the Israeli health ministry has recognised 341 Omicron cases. With 903 new cases reported on Tuesday, the total COVID-19 infection rate is back on the rise.

In the last seven days, four fatalities have been reported, including that of a 68-year-old man whom physicians feared was infected with Omicron. On Wednesday, the health ministry confirmed that he had the Delta variant.

On Tuesday night, Israel’s Pandemic Expert Committee advised that over-60s, medics, and people with weakened immunity receive a fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least four months after their third injection. The health ministry is expected to provide final clearance for the move in the coming days.

One expert on the panel said there was a lack of data on whether the third shot’s protection was diminishing, but that the global numbers on Omicron infection were terrifying.

At the world’s quickest pace, Israel was the first country to administer a booster dose in the summer as part of its COVID-19 vaccine programme. According to the health ministry, about 70% of those eligible among the country’s 9.3 million people have received two doses, with 45 per cent receiving a third.

The health ministry announced in November that youngsters aged five to eleven could receive the vaccine. Israel’s government closed its borders to foreign nationals last month and now prohibits Israeli citizens and permanent residents from visiting more than 50 countries on a “red list,” including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and much of Africa.