Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that all Israelis over the age of 60 and medical staff will be able to benefit from a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, amid the outbreak of contaminations linked to the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Speaking at a press conference devoted to the pandemic, Bennett said the Department of Health had approved this 4th dose, two days after it was administered to vulnerable people. “The Omicron wave is here and we must protect ourselves”, said Bennett.
Health authorities had given the green light to the 4th dose for immunocompromised people on Thursday, following the booster dose campaign last summer.
Shortly after the start of immunization of immunocompromised people, the director of the Ministry of Health, Nachman Ash, authorized the immediate administration of a 4th dose for residents of nursing homes and patients in geriatric departments.
Israel also received Thursday a first delivery of anti-coronavirus pills from Pfizer as the number of contaminations continues to increase since the appearance at the end of November of the first case in the country of the Omicron variant. The last few days have seen a spectacular jump in Covid-19 cases without, however, at least so far, resulting in a marked increase in hospitalizations.
We can expect to have 50,000 new cases per day soon
Authorities on Sunday reported 4,206 new cases of Covid in the past 24 hours and an increase of 195% from a week ago, which could quickly increase pressure on the health system.
“We can envisage having 50,000 new cases per day soon”, cautioned Mr Bennett, who reiterated his call for mass vaccination for adults and for children who are not yet.
In a country of 9.2 million people, where more than half of the population has already received a booster dose, severe cases are currently concentrated in unvaccinated people, according to data released by authorities. A total of 1,394,407 contaminations have been identified since the start of the pandemic in Israel, including 8,244 deaths according to official figures.