Israel to begin administering 4th coronavirus shot to medical workers and adults over 60


(JTA) — Israel is set to begin administering a second booster shot to Israelis over 60 and to medical workers who received their first booster at least four months ago in a bid to protect vulnerable segments of the population against the Omicron variant currently sweeping through the country Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the decision to administer a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine Sunday.

“We’ve been first in the world [with the] booster shots and that policy has protected Israel’s citizens well,” Bennett said, according to The Times of Israel.

While the ability of a fourth coronavirus vaccination to boost immunity has not been proven, the question is currently being studied at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center in a study of 6,000 people. A fourth shot was already being offered to nursing home residents and immunocompromised people in recent days after the Health Ministry approved the move Thursday. Israel became the first country in the world to offer residents a third coronavirus vaccine when it began offering the booster shots in July 2021.

The number of new cases of the coronavirus in Israel has skyrocketed in recent days, approximately tripling over the course of a week. Government officials and health experts have predicted those numbers will continue to rise with tens of thousands of new cases each day until the Omicron variant runs out of new people to infect.

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Despite the surge in cases, the government has chosen not to impose a lockdown as was done in previous waves, choosing instead to focus on encouraging vaccination. The number of serious cases has not risen at the rate of the number of cases overall and the majority of hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated.

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