A fourth Covid19 vaccine dose will be offered by Israel to people over 60 years old, those with compromised immune systems and healthcare workers. Reuters reports that this is part of the drive to get ahead of the highly contagious Omicron variant’s spread.
This is after the recommendation of a Health Ministry expert panel that eligible people get a fourth shot at least four months after their third one.
“We are seeing a waning of protection against Omicron infection. This wave is growing in surprisingly high numbers,” Dr. Arnon Shahar, who is part of the panel, told Israel’s Army radio. “More than 80% of the panel supported this measure.”
The panel’s statement is “great news,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett finds, “that will help [Israel] overcome the Omicron wave that is spreading around the world.”
Additionally, the panel recommends a reduction of the interval between shots two and three. It was originally at five months but they now see three months as a better alternative.
In a statement, the panel said that the measures would be “part of the preparation for the fifth wave [of the pandemic].” No data has been released yet in support of their recommendations.
Health Ministry director-general Nachman Ash needs to approve the panel’s recommendations before they can take effect. No timeline for approval has been given or at least hinted at just yet.
There are well over 300 known cases of Omicron in Israel as of late December.
Photo: Nir Keidar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images