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Israel widens 4th vax eligibility

Adults under 60 with underlying medical conditions, their caretakers, and others over 18 at significant risk of exposure to the coronavirus can now receive the 4th vaccine dose.

By Erin Viner

Jerusalem had already approved administration of the second Pfizer Inc /BioNTech SE “booster shot” for those over the age of 60, medical staff, immune-compromised or living in care homes at the start of this month amid a spike in Omicron variant infections’ on condition that at least 5 months have passed since they received the 3rd or had recovered from COVID-19 infection.

So far, 623,010 people have taken the 4th jab. Prime Minister Bennett has already declared the latest campaign as “a great success,” saying that “Vaccines protect us from serious illness and quarantine, and the public understands that.”

Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash has approved the latest measure, which fell short of a recommendation earlier this week by a ministry panel of experts to offer the shot to all adults.

Those newly-eligible for the 4th inoculation can receive it if at least 4 months have passed since their last dose.

Out of the overall population of 9.4 million: 6,689,735 have been vaccinated once, 6,081,269 twice and 4,436,378 three times.

An Israeli research study has found that people over 60 who received the 4th vaccination are 3-to-5 times as protected against serious illness and twice as protected against infection as compared with those who have been thrice-vaccinated, noted the Health Ministry.

There are currently 483,228 active COVID cases in Israel, 946 of whom are listed as “seriously ill.”

8,556 Israelis have died of the disease since outbreak of the pandemic, including 149 over the past week.