Israel’s Covid chief calls for fourth vaccine dose

Israel should begin preparations for administering fourth coronavirus vaccinations, the nation’s Chief Covid-19 Officer Salman Zarka has said

<p>Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett receiving his first Covid-19 booster shot in August </p>

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett receiving his first Covid-19 booster shot in August

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Israel should begin preparations for administering fourth coronavirus vaccinations, the nation’s pandemic coordinator has said as daily infections continue to rise.

Professor Salman Zarka, who was appointed Israel’s Chief Covid-19 Officer in July, spoke of the need to roll out second booster shots to Israel’s Kan public radio, but did not propose a timeline in which to do this.

“Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,” he said, The Times of Israel reports.

He added: “This is our life from now on, in waves.”

On 1 August, Israel became the first nation in the world to begin offering booster shots, at first to people over 60 who had received their first two jabs.

By the end of the month, everyone over the age of 12 who had received their second shot at least five months prior was urged to get their third.

Around 60 per cent of Israel’s population has received two vaccine doses, but infections are on the rise — likely owing to factors such as the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant.

Israel is currently reporting around 10,000 new Covid-19 infections each day, an average which has been rising since July.

The spike in cases prompted concerns over the vaccines’ efficacy in offering protection against Covid-19 variants.

Israel’s health ministry rolled out its booster jab programme after reporting that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are only around 64 per cent effective at preventing infections, a figure far lower than data before the emergence of the Delta variant suggested. Pfizer has denied these claims.

The nation’s health ministry hopes that booster jabs will help control the virus’s spread.

Mr Zaka told The Times of Israel that shots might be necessary “once a year or every five or six months”.

“Thinking about [the emergence of new variants] and the waning of the vaccines and the antibodies, it seems every few months — it could be once a year or five or six months — we’ll need another shot,” he said.

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