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Israel to give third shots to over-40s

Israel is giving booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to people over the age of 40 from Friday, as the infection rate continues to rise.

Tel Aviv, 20 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Israel is giving booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to people over the age of 40 from Friday, as the infection rate continues to rise.

Several teams of scientists recommended the extension of the vaccination campaign, the Health Ministry said late on Thursday evening.

Pregnant women, teachers, health workers, people with disabilities and caregivers are to receive a third vaccine, they recommended.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is 49 years old, is also expected to be vaccinated a third time on Friday, his office said.

Israel’s inoculation campaign has almost exclusively used the shot made by Pfizer.

The country became the first in the world to start administering booster shots at the end of July.

Any recipients of the third shot must have been given their second shot at least five months earlier.

The Health Ministry said nearly 1.3 million people have received a third vaccine so far.

The decision to provide the additional shot was based on Health Ministry figures suggesting a sharp decline in the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine since early June.

The country is also battling the spread of the more transmissible delta variant.

Case numbers have risen significantly since June. More than 8,500 new cases were reported within the space of a day at the beginning of the week – the highest level in more than six months.

More than 58 percent of Israel’s 9.4 million citizens are fully vaccinated.

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