Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israelis receive their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary Clalit health care center in Jerusalem, August 15, 2021.

The Israeli Health Ministry announced Monday that the number of citizens who have received a third “booster” shot of coronavirus vaccine has officially topped one million.

Although the original guidelines called for people age 60 and up to get that third jab, health officials extended the eligibility this week from age 50 and up. There are some 1.9 million people in the country age 50 or older.

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“The vaccine is the best means we have to fight the Delta virus, to maintain health, the economy, and the routine of life in Israel. We have provided a stockpile of vaccines for anyone who can be vaccinated. It’s time to use it,” said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. “Only if we continue at this high rate of immunization will we get through this crisis without reaching a lockdown,” he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has repeatedly said that getting vaccinated is not only a matter of personal responsibility, but it is also an issue of being responsible for one’s fellow citizen as well, praised the achievement of reaching a million people taking the booster.

“This is a wonderful figure and a great achievement,” he said, “but there is still a lot of work ahead of us. This is the only way to maintain both our health and livelihood.” Bennett also reminded Israeli citizens they “are the first in the world to receive the third vaccine.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state’s Department of Health has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for New Yorkers with compromised immune systems.

The announcement comes in response to a similar recommendation last week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Effective immediately, New Yorkers who meet criteria can receive the third dose 28 days after the completion of their two-dose vaccine series.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.