The pandemic experts of Israel’s Ministry of Health have recommended that a second booster should be offered to over-60s and health workers in the Middle Eastern country. If the proposal is accepted, which it is set to in the coming days, it would make Israel the first country to provide a fourth dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The Israeli Government has welcomed the proposal, with the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urging those who will be allowed to take the offer up to do so. The recommendation suggests that the second booster should be given at least four months after the third dose.
"This is wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world," Mr Bennett said, as reported by Reuters.
Israel has fully vaccinated 63.5 percent of its population and has given a booster to about 45 percent – just over four million people. About one-third of the country’s population is under 14, so most of them have only been eligible for the vaccine in recent months.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel has registered 1.36 million COVID infections. The country has so far experienced 8,200 deaths, including the first death due to the Omicron variant.
The world continues to experience dramatic inequality when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine access, as the richer nations, which are already rolling out boosters, have delayed discussions on patent waivers for the vaccines. Only 8.1 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.