Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett commented publicly for the first time on the decision of the FDA panel to give booster shots of COVID-19 vaccine only to older people and those at high risk. He predicted that the United States would gradually begin to offer the third shot on a wider scale after they will see the scientific data from Israel. He stated on Twitter that the US had decided to follow Israel’s path. He said that the FDA would gradually expand the extension of the third shot to other age groups, as Israel had done because the effectiveness of the second dose continues to decline even in younger age groups.
The head of public health services at Israel’s Health Ministry, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said that she also believes the US would make the third dose available widely over time. She said that Israel was ahead of them by three months, in regard to the Delta variant of the coronavirus that hit the country in June, and also in case of the third booster shot campaign. She reiterated that the COVID-19 vaccines lose their effectiveness over time, regardless of age, due to which they were vaccinating everyone above the age of 12.
Initially, Israel had also made the booster shot available to people over 60, but now all citizens over the age of 12 are now eligible to receive a third shot if they received their second dose five months ago. However, the committee of experts advising the FDA chose to reject boosters for people, despite the data provided by Israel as well as expert testimony. A lack of safety data on the additional doses was cited as the reason. The FDA panel only approved a booster shot for specific portions of the population, namely older people and those at risk.
Before the FDA decision, an opinion piece was published on Friday which disclosed that Bennett believed some experts within Israel had also been reluctant to approve booster shots. But, ultimately, the decision had been made to inoculate the people with third dose because of the fourth wave of the Delta variant. Bennett said that so far, the third dose had proven to be sufficient in boosting the resistance after the first two doses. He said that waiting too long to give the third rose would been squandering the benefits of the vaccination.
Despite the decision taken by the FDA panel, Bennett has decided to push forward with their Green Pass policy that requires citizens in Israel to get the third shot before they can be permitted to enter public spaces and attend any events. However, the report said that cabinet sources wanted to delay the plan till October 1st for those under 40 because of lower rates of booster shots in this age group. Figures indicate that 61% of people eligible for the third shot between the 40-49 age group have gotten it, whereas 47% of the eligible people between 30 and 39 have received the third dose. It is 37% for people between 16 and 19.