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US authorizes third Pfizer or Moderna jab for high-risk groups; Israel offers third shot to anyone over 50

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a third Pfizer or Moderna jab for people with weakened immune systems.

Washington, 13 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a third Pfizer or Moderna jab for people with weakened immune systems.

The measure allows for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients, the FDA said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss further clinical recommendations regarding immunocompromised individuals.

“The country has entered yet another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from Covid-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine at this time,” Woodcock added.

CDC boss Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday that less than 3 percent of the population might need the booster vaccination.

US authorities have so far rejected a booster vaccination for the majority of the population, including older people.

A total of 50.3 percent of the US population of around 330 million people have been fully vaccinated to date.

US authorities are now reporting an average of 110,000 new infections per day.

Meanwhile, Israel will expand the eligibility to receive a coronavirus vaccine booster shot by lowering the age to anyone over 50, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

Bennett said the decision to offer a third shot to younger adults who are already fully vaccinated comes on the advice of a team of experts advising the government.

Israel announced last month it would became the first country in the world to offer a wide swathe of its population — anyone over the age of 60 — a booster. So far, around 750,000 seniors have received that shot.

Now, in addition to lowering the age of eligibility to 50, people working in medical professions will also be allowed to get a booster starting on Friday. Israel is using the vaccine from Pfizer.

Bennett said that this was the right course of action in the fight against the fast-spreading delta variant.

Israel recently recorded nearly 6,000 new infections daily. The number of patients in critical condition is also at its highest level in six months, with more than 400. So far, just over 58 percent of the population of about 6.4 million has been fully vaccinated.

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