Israel Approves Third Vaccine Dose for Those Over 50
(Bloomberg) -- Israel approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine for those over the age of 50 from Friday, as the country grapples with its fourth wave of Covid-19.
Israel’s Covid-19 national experts advisory team had recommended that the age of eligibility be lowered to 50 from 60, and it was accepted by the Ministry of Health, according to a government statement. Healthcare workers, prisoners, prison wardens and some high-risk patients under the age of 50 will also be offered the third shot.
Israel became the first country to approve the use of booster shots for over-60s in late July, despite a lack of wide-spread evidence of its efficacy. Since then, almost 775,000 people in that age group received a third dose, according to the Ministry of Health. The move has been closely watched around the world, with some other countries preparing to roll out a booster shot as the delta variant causes new cases to surge.
Despite an early and effective vaccination campaign, the number of serious cases in Israel has risen almost tenfold over the last month, from 45 cases on July 13 to 462 on Friday, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Of those, 75 are on ventilators.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was “the right decision for the health of the citizens of Israel” for a booster shot as recommended by the advisory team, according to a Thursday statement from the Prime Minister’s office.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the use of the booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc. for people with compromised immune systems.
More than 90% of the severe cases in Israel are among people over the age of 50, Bennett said on Tuesday.
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