Israel will begin to apply the fourth dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 to those over 60 years of age and health workers, when four months have passed since the third dose.
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The committee of experts that advises the government in the response to the pandemic approved this measure on Tuesday night, at the request of Prime Minister Naftali Benet, who welcomed the decision and promised to start the campaign “immediately” to stop the fifth wave and the spread of the omicron variant.
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More than four million people already have the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Israel, one of the first countries in the world to successfully launch that inoculation campaign in the summer with which they managed to contain the fourth wave of the pandemic.
“It is wonderful news that will help us overcome this wave of the omicron variant that is hitting the whole world,” Benet said in a statement after the decision of the expert committee was known.
In fact, the prime minister has already called on the Home Front Command – the Army command that manages civil issues – which assists the government in responding to the pandemic and distributing vaccines, to be ready for this new task.
Although the decision still requires the formal announcement of the Ministry of Health, its head, Nitzan Horowitz, also celebrated the news on Twitter and stressed that “the priority is to protect the elderly, who are more vulnerable, and keep medical personnel safe. ”.
With more than 62% of the population inoculated with at least two doses of Pfizer and almost 45% with three doses, the focus of the vaccination campaign so far has been on children between 5 and 11 years old, who register figures of very low inoculation (only 11% have received at least one dose) despite being able to receive their dose for a month.
In addition, the expert committee also advised that the period between the second and third doses be reduced from five to three months, to increase immunization levels when the omicron variant spreads through Israel, which has already confirmed more than 340 cases, after doubling the number in just one day.
The country also confirmed today the first death from this variant of a 60-year-old man with previous pathologies and who had two doses of the vaccine.
Israel has been registering more than a thousand new COVID-19 infections a day for three days, figures that had not reached since mid-October, in the middle of the fourth wave.
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