Israel Rolls out 4th COVID-19 Vaccine Dose to People Over 60

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Other at-risk groups also eligible for second booster

The Israeli government announced that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to people older than 60 or those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, such as immunocompromised people and health care workers.

Israel’s health ministry announced Tuesday that the country’s Pandemic Expert Committee recommended the fourth shot.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the decision, saying it is “wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world.”

“The State of Israel is continuing to stand at the forefront of the global effort to deal with the pandemic,” he said in a statement. “The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and we are continuing to pioneer with the fourth dose as well.”

Specifically, a fourth dose is recommended to those aged over 60 provided that four months have passed since their third COVID-19 vaccine dose. A fourth dose is also recommended for health care workers, provided four months have passed since their third dose.

The panel also recommended that the third dose of the COVID-19 be given three months after a person’s second shot—instead of five months as was previously recommended—as part of preparation for the fifth wave of COVID-19 in the country.

The decision is pending formal approval by senior health officials.

“I call on everyone who meets the criteria that the members of the committee have set: go and get vaccinated,” Bennett said. “Take responsibility for the health and livelihoods of us all. The vaccines save lives.”

The development comes on the same day as the first known death in Israel attributed to the Omicron variant was reported by a hospital in Israel, the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. The man, who died on Monday, was in his sixties. His death comes two weeks after he was admitted to the coronavirus ward.

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

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