Prime Minister (Jerusalem) Naftali Bennett announced Tuesday that all Israelis over the age of 60 and medical staff would be entitled to a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, after consulting with a panel of experts.
Posted on December 21, 2021 at 5:54 p.m.
The remarks come at a time when Israel is struggling to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, enacting travel bans and other restrictions without actually limiting itself.
“I gave the order to prepare for the fourth shot immediately,” Bennett wrote on Twitter. “The world will follow in our footsteps.”
A spokesperson said Israel was the first country in the world to administer the fourth dose.
The decision of the Panel of Experts on the Pandemic to approve the fourth dose is “excellent news” that “will help us overcome the Omicron wave that is overwhelming the world,” the Prime Minister said previously.
“The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and we continue to lead with the fourth dose,” he said in a report. Press release released by their services, calling on those who meet these criteria to “go get vaccinated.”
Immunosuppressed people can also receive the fourth dose, which can be administered, both to people over 60 years of age and to medical teams, at least four months after the third injection, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Bennett spoke after a cabinet meeting dedicated to Omicron.
The council restricted meals in shopping malls and decreed that children in communities with high morbidity rates and low immunizations must attend classes at home.
Bennett’s office added that the prime minister had directed the Health Ministry and Medicare funds, which handle the vaccines, to prepare for the fourth-dose injection campaign.
Earlier today, Israel announced that it had added the United States, Canada and several other countries to its red list of some 50 states that are prohibited from traveling, in an attempt to contain Omicron.
These restrictions on travel abroad, which already affected France, the United Kingdom and most African countries, will enter into force on Wednesday and will remain in force, as for the rest of the “red” countries until at least December 29 .
The other countries added to the red list on Tuesday are Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.
These measures affect, in the case of the United States in particular, hundreds of thousands of Israelis with dual citizenship.
Israeli citizens and residents of a recently red-listed country will be confined for a week upon return.
The Prime Minister had recently defended these restrictions, necessary according to him so as not to have to resort to new containment in the face of this fifth epidemic wave, and called on the population to telework and vaccinate children.
As of Tuesday, 1,148 confirmed and “highly probable” cases of Omicron were reported in Israel, more than half of which were vaccinated people, according to the Health Ministry.
Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba (south) announced that a 60-year-old man suffering from “several” serious “pathologies” had succumbed to Omicron, possibly the first person to lose his life as a result of this variant in Israel.
More than 4.1 of the 9.3 million people in Israel have received three doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Children between the ages of five and 11 are currently being vaccinated.
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