Israel says US booster decision vindicates its vaccine strategy

Israel says that the Biden administration's decision to move forward with coronavirus booster shots vindicates its vaccine strategy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a third dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday for people aged 65 and older, along with others at high risk for severe disease and those whose jobs put them at high risk of severe COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on Thursday aligning with the FDA’s recommendation, while CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci says trick-or-treating this Halloween ok Overnight Health Care — Presented by EMAA — Pfizer requests FDA authorize COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds CDC director urging flu shots ahead of potentially 'severe' season MORE later also recommended that people at risk of infection due to their jobs be eligible for a third shot.

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The Israeli Health Ministry said the FDA’s decision “gave validity to the third vaccine operation” in Israel, which “decided to act responsibly and quickly in order to treat growing infections,” The Associated Press reported.

The health ministry further said that statistics show that the booster dose has “restored protection,” the AP reported. 

Israel began rolling out booster shots for the elderly in late July and late last month began offering booster shots to fully vaccinated citizens 12 years and older. Israeli health officials have said the booster was needed because the effectiveness of Pfizer’s second vaccine dose was declining over time.

According to the AP, overall new coronavirus infections among fully vaccinated people in Israel have dropped over the weeks that the booster campaign has been in place, while the percentage of unvaccinated among serious COVID-19 cases has risen.

Of Israel’s 703 serious COVID-19 cases, 70 percent were among the unvaccinated and 20 percent had not received a booster. A month earlier, the two groups were equally represented among serious cases.

Still, booster shots have been controversial. The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on booster shots until 2022, arguing that the priority should still be vaccinating those who have not been fully vaccinated.