All Israelis over the age of 12 will now be able to take advantage of its COVID-19 booster shot vaccination campaign. This makes Israel the world’s first country to be offering the third shot on such a big scale. According to Israeli officials, the efficacy of the vaccine sharply wanes after six months and this makes the booster shot highly effective. All Israelis over the age of 12 will be eligible for a third booster shot if they got their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine around five months ago. Earlier this month, Israel had started giving the booster shot to people over the age of 60 and now they have expanded their campaign, which makes it the world’s first country to do so.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Professional Cyril Cohen said that he was convinced of the need for a booster shot. He is part of the advisory committee formed for clinical trials at the Ministry of Health in Israel. He said that there was data showing the reduction in the vaccine’s effectiveness when it comes to preventing infections. He added that he wasn’t talking about severe cases of the disease that start around 5 to 6 months after receiving vaccination, due to which the Israeli government had permitted everyone to get a third booster shot if they want.
It was also announced by the government that anyone who has received a third vaccine shot, or who has gotten their second vaccine in the last six months, will not have to quarantine themselves after traveling internationally. However, there are some exceptions, as there are a handful of red countries that have high numbers of COVID-19 cases, which are excluded from this benefit. These include Mexico, Turkey, Spain and Brazil. This announcement resulted in a surge of ticket purchases, as a number of Israelis had decided to put off their travel plans because of the requirement of a weeklong quarantine upon their return.
Moreover, this announcement comes as the COVID-19 cases in Israel remain high, even though they are beginning to decline. The director-general of the Health Ministry in Israel, Nachman Ash said that Israel is putting a stop to the fourth wave of COVID and they are optimistic that the rates will begin to go down. Currently, you can find more than 700 cases of patients in Israeli hospitals, who are seriously ill and nearly 7,000 people have died since the pandemic began.
The officials said that almost two million Israelis out of a total of nine million have already gotten their third dose. Simultaneously, there are a number of events that could lead to an increase in the number of cases. Schools are scheduled for opening on Wednesday and parents are asked to test their children at home and provide the results. But, there are concerns that parents may conduct the test improperly, or not do them at all. Furthermore, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana also begins next week, which means there will be large family gatherings.