Israel has begun providing a COVID-19 booster to youngsters as early as 12, and its prime minister claims that a senior-focused campaign launched a month ago has stemmed an increase in serious sickness caused by the Delta version.
Top Israeli health authorities announced the decision on Sunday, stating that the effectiveness of the second dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had decreased six months after delivery, necessitating a booster.
“The third dose brings us to the level of protection achieved by the second dose, when it was fresh,” said Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at Israel’s Health Ministry.
“That means, people are 10 times more protected after the third vaccine dose,” she told a news conference, where the expanded booster drive was announced.
Those who are eligible for the third shot can receive it if at least five months have gone after their second jab — a timescale that is less than the eight-month delay now in place in the United States, which is contemplating shortening the waiting period.
To combat the spread of the extremely contagious Delta strain, Israel began delivering the booster to its elderly population a month ago and has steadily lowered the qualifying age. Prior to Sunday’s news, it stood at 30.
So far, two million people have gotten three doses out of a population of 9.3 million.
“There are already results: the rise in severe morbidity has slowed,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
Despite resistance from the World Health Organization, Israel and other nations have moved through with booster plans, arguing that more of the world should be vaccinated with a first dosage before receiving a third.
The United States has stated that it will provide booster doses to all citizens, citing statistics indicating dwindling protection. Canada, France, and Germany have also prepared public relations efforts.