Israel on Friday began providing coronavirus booster shots to people over 60 who have already received two doses of a vaccine, according to The Associated Press.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the news Thursday, making Israel the first country to offer a third dose of a Western vaccine to citizens on a large scale, the AP noted.
"Israel is a pioneer in going ahead with the third dose for older people of the age of 60 and above," Bennet said during the announcement.
The decision follows a spike in infections in Israel, where cases have risen up to more than 2,000 per day. Israeli officials announced Sunday that they would pursue a fresh inoculation campaign targeting citizens over 60, saying that protection against serious illness for those in that age group who were vaccinated in January dropped from 97 percent to 81 percent, according to The Washington Post.
More than 57 percent of Israel's citizens have received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and more than 80 percent of citizens over 40 are vaccinated, according to the AP.
Pfizer suggested in a report Wednesday that although the power of its vaccine offers solid protection, a third shot could improve immunity.
The company's CEO, Albert Bourla, said Wednesday that the effectiveness of the vaccine drops to 84 percent for vaccinated people about four to six months after receiving the second dose.