Israel rolling out another round of boosters — Analysis

The recommendation of a fourth Covid-19 vaccination dose has been made by an Israeli panel consisting of Israeli experts in health.

According to The Times of Israel, Tuesday’s vote by the Health Ministry pandemic treatment team, which is known as the Health Ministry Health Ministry, was unanimous. Additional boosters were recommended to elderly and high-risk medical personnel. However, the ministry must still approve the request.

Nonetheless, PM Bennett wasted little time before urging the groups in question to receive their fourth shots, saying Tuesday’s vote was “great news that will help us overcome the Omicron wave that is spreading around the world,” referring to the latest coronavirus ‘variant of concern’ identified by the World Health Organization.

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“I call on everyone who meets the criteria set by the committee members: get vaccinated. All of us must take responsibility for our health and well-being. Vaccines save lives,” Bennett added.

The Times reported that citizens who are eligible for an extra shot must wait at least four to six months following their third dose if they have been formally approved. 

Although Israel was one of the first nations to fully immunize its citizens in 1948, it has been slowing down since then and is now behind many other countries. And despite its rapid vaccine roll-out, the country has seen a spike in coronavirus infections in recent months, including a high number of ‘breakthrough’ cases in fully vaccinated patients. Since then, the government has unveiled a series of booster doses in order to strengthen protection against the virus, in line with Tuesday’s vote for a fourth shot. To date, some 46% of Israel’s population has received at least one additional dose, putting its booster campaign among the top three in the world.

Some experts have gone even further in their recommendations, with Arnon Afek – deputy director of the Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest hospital – going as far as to suggest that a fifth, sixth or even seventh dose could ultimately be needed to end the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, Israel’s Health Ministry has recorded a total of 341 Omicron infections nationwide, noting that most had recently returned from overseas travel. The new Omicron variant is believed to have been transmitted to 807 more people, although their cases are still being confirmed. Omicron patients may remain infected for longer periods of time due to the possibility that the strain could be transmitted to others. Therefore, they are being required to go through an extended 14-day quarantine instead of the 10-day standard protocol.

Johns Hopkins University has compiled data that shows Israel has experienced more than 1.3million Covid cases, and close to 8,300 deaths in total since the pandemic started in late 2019.

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