Story at a glance
- The booster campaign is set to kick off Sunday.
- Those 60 and older who received their second shot more than five months ago are eligible.
- The decision comes amid a recent wave of infections that has put daily case figures from just dozens weeks ago to more than 2,000 this week.
Israel will soon start offering a third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the elderly as infections spike due to the highly transmissible delta variant.
The Washington Post reports Israel’s health care system is readying to begin giving booster shots to those aged 60 and older starting Sunday, putting Israel among the first in the world to begin administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligible recipients include those who received their second shot more than five months ago. The Post reports the head of the Israeli Nursing Homes Union said facilities were preparing logistics to provide the third shots.
The decision comes amid a recent wave of infections that has put daily case figures from just dozens weeks ago to more than 2,000 this week.
The spike in cases driven by the delta variant, however, has not led to a corresponding increase in the number of people with severe disease or hospitalizations, according to the Post.
Isreal's Health Ministry last week released a study that found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was about 88 percent effective at preventing hospitalization due to the delta variant and roughly 91 percent effective at protecting against severe cases. However, the vaccine was found to offer about 41 percent protection against symptomatic cases and an overall effectiveness of 39 percent for preventing infections.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the booster strategy is meant “to preserve life and daily routine in the state of Israel.”
The move comes after Pfizer released data Wednesday suggesting a third dose of its vaccine can strongly boost protection against the delta variant, beyond the protection provided by the standard two doses.
Data showed that antibody levels were five times higher after a third dose among people aged 18 to 55 against delta and 11 times higher among 65- to 85-year-olds.
Pfizer earlier this month said it would be applying for Food and Drug Administration authorization for a booster shot.
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