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Israel to offer fourth COVID-19 booster dose

Israel was one of the first countries in the world to begin offering booster doses to vaccinated individuals.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett receives a booster shot against the coronavirus, at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, on Aug. 20, 2021.

An Israeli government panel recommended administering a fourth booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines today. 

Israel’s pandemic response team said that people older than 60 and health workers can receive a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This fourth booster dose will be available at least four months after receiving the third dose. The recommendation still requires final approval from the Health Ministry to go into effect, Israeli media outlets reported today. 

Many countries around the world are offering booster doses to vaccinated individuals. Health authorities are partly concerned by the waning protection of the initial vaccination with time. Health experts believe the booster offers increased protection against COVID-19. The World Health Organization has cautioned against the booster in some cases. This is partly because of concerns about the vaccine supply in countries where most people have not yet received their first dose. 

The Israeli government is particularly worried about the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, which some health experts believe is more transmissible than previous strains. 

Israel is averaging about 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases a day among its population of 9,000,000. This is down from the more than 7,000 cases a day high in September, according to data from Reuters. More than 69% of the Israeli population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the Oxford-based Our World in Data. 

The Israeli government has implemented several strict measures to contain the Omicron variant. Earlier this week, they banned travel to several countries, including the United States. Also today, Naftali Bennett’s Cabinet decided to lower the capacity at public sector offices to 50%, according to a statement. 

Israel has been a world pioneer in booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Israel started offering third booster doses to people relatively early in August. The United States, Iraq and Egypt soon followed