by: Kate Norman
Friday, 30 July 2021 | Beginning today, Israel will be among the first countries in the world to administer a third shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, starting with its over-60 population. The government also decided to reinstate Israel’s Green Pass program on the same day, amid a spike in new cases.
Though a third inoculation has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as well as other outside regulators, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the move Thursday night, following a meeting with Israel’s top decision-making health officials.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, 61, will be the first to get the third shot today, blazing the trail for other over-60s to follow—provided five months have passed since their last inoculation.
“Our goal is to keep the State of Israel open,” Bennett said at a TV press conference on Thursday. “But we must understand that there is a race between the vaccine campaign and the pandemic. We must make sure the vaccinations rate beats the pandemic’s spread. We all have the shared obligation to protect one another. Go get vaccinated!”
The new vaccine push comes amid a recent spike in new COVID-19 cases, with experts predicting an incoming fourth wave of the virus across the Middle East.
Israel saw over 2,000 new cases on Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported Thursday night—a significant jump from a month ago, when mere dozens of cases were reported each day. Of Israel’s active cases, 151 are reportedly in serious condition, including 26 patients on ventilators. The current death toll of the Jewish state since the start of the pandemic stands at 6,466.
Thus Israel’s government is urging its elderly population to go get the third vaccine dose for an added boost against the virus and the Delta variant.
“Within a few days of receiving the third dose, [the vaccine] comes into effect and provides protection,” Bennett asserted at the press conference on Thursday. “I urge seniors who have been vaccinated with the second dose—go get vaccinated with the third dose. It will protect you from serious illness and death.”
The Times of Israel spoke with several of Israel’s top health officials about the third shot, and the consensus stands that it might not necessarily help, but it won’t hurt.
“They may not benefit, but they won’t do any harm,” an epidemiologist from Israel’s Bar Ilan University told the Times of Israel.
Another epidemiologist from Ben Gurion University assured the Times of Israel that “the vaccine is approved, and no special side effects, especially among the elderly, are expected.”
Israel also reinstated its Green Pass program on Thursday, meaning anyone over the age of 12 entering an event with more than 100 people will need to present the green pass indicating that they have been vaccinated or recovered from the virus. A negative test taken within the past 72 hours will also grant entry.
The Green Pass will apply to all social events, including restaurants, gyms, hotels, synagogues, tourist attractions, sporting and other public events.
Posted on July 30, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 30, 2021)
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