Israel to offer a fourth dose of vaccination to the over-60s with Covid-19

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A panel of experts recommended that a fourth dose be given to all health professionals and people over 60.

An Israeli government panel made up of experts has recommended that all over-60-year-olds and health workers receive a fourth dose.

Premier Naftali Bennett welcomed the move, saying it would allow the country to get past a possible wave of Omicron variant.

So far, 341 Omicron cases have been confirmed by the Israeli Health Ministry.

Also, overall Covid-19 infection rates are on the rise with 903 new cases reported on Tuesday.

There were four other deaths, one of which was a 68 year-old male who had been suspected to have Omicron. On Wednesday, the health ministry confirmed that the victim actually was infected with Omicron.

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The Pandemic Expert Committee of Israel recommended Tuesday night that a fourth dose be administered to over-60s and medics with compromised immunity. This recommendation was at least four years after the third.

This move will receive the final approval of the health ministry within the coming days.

Bennett declared, “This amazing news will aid us in getting over the Omicron wave which is engulfing all of the world.”

Prime Minister added that “Israelis were among the first to get the third dose Covid-19 vaccine, and they are still pioneering with the fourth.”

Nadav Nadav, director of Ben Gurion University School of Public Health and adviser to the government said: “The vaccine has been very safe. Having the fourth dose is not dangerous.

“The Omicron [variant]It is currently in Israel. After two days we have multiplication rates similar to those in South Africa and the UK. Following this we felt it prudent to recommend that anyone who has received the third dose in four months can now receive the fourth.

According to Tom Bateman, a BBC journalist in Jerusalem, the evidence supporting a fourth shot is not yet available. The same committee also advised against it a week earlier.

A panel member said that although there is not much data available on whether the immunity following the third shot has waned, he added that Omicron infection numbers worldwide were “terribly alarming”.

Israel launched its Covid-19 vaccination programme in record time and became the first country to offer routine booster shots during summer.

According to the health ministry, almost 70% of eligible people in its 9.3million population received two doses and 45% received a third.

The health ministry announced that children between five and eleven years old could get the jab in November.

Bennett declared Monday that every child eligible should be vaccinated by Mr Bennett within two weeks. This will help to “delay, slowly and diminish” another round of infected children.

Omicron prompted Israel to close its borders to foreigners last month. The government has also banned Israeli permanent residents from going to more than 50 countries that are on the “red list,” which include many of Africa, France and Germany.


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