In recent news, the government of Israel has decided to expand its coronavirus vaccine booster campaign. It will now administer the third shot of the vaccine to people aged 50 and above, as announced by the Health Ministry on Friday. Just two weeks ago, the relevant officials of the government had decided to give the booster shot to citizens aged 60 and above. The inauguration of the campaign made Israel the first country to inoculate specific parts of its population with the booster shots.
The Health Ministry was given the recommendation to vaccinate Israelis aged 50 and above by its advisory panel on Thursday. It further encouraged the government to authorize the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine to health workers, prisoners, prison staff, as well as people who have weak immune systems.
Prof. Nachman Ash, the Director-General of the Health Ministry, added that the recommendation given by the advisory council was accepted right away and put into effect. He went on to say that officials are still working on coming up with specific regulations for various groups, which are now a part of the booster shot campaign.
The health minister, Nitzan Horowitz, is 56 years old and was given the third dose of the vaccine early on Friday morning. After receiving his jab at the Meir Hospital, located in Kfar Sava, he stated that experts have given their approval for the booster shot by deeming it both effective and safe. He went on to say that the world is racing against the pandemic and the one tool that can effectively help emerge victoriously is inoculating.
The minister went on to urge Israelis in the same age group as him, and older, to get vaccinated at the earliest.
Moreover, Clalit, the largest health maintenance organization in the State of Israel, had announced before the recommendation of the Health Ministry that it would be giving the booster shot to people aged 50 and above from next week. It released a statement in which it declared that citizens would be allowed to schedule appointments for the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine from Friday onwards, by simply filling out an application on their website.
Two additional healthcare providers, Leumit and Maccabi, opened up the registration for the booster shot on Friday.
The recommendation made by the advisory panel of the Health Ministry, however, is not binding. Officials stated that they have yet to make a proper decision regarding the expansion of the booster shot campaign. Around 100 experts participated in the debate to figure out whether it was feasible to include additional age groups in the campaign. A majority of the participant supported this move, and some claimed that the minimum age for the third shot could be brought down to only 40. The State of Israel has successfully given the third jab to no less than 754,000 people by now.
Earlier on the day of Thursday, the Prime Minister of the country, Naftali Bennett, told health maintenance organizations to make preparations to roll out the booster shots for various age groups, starting from next week.