Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Israelis over 50 years of age start receiving the third vaccine dose on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.

Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash on Thursday night accepted the recommendation of the Corona Vaccine Advisory Team, the Association of Public Health Physicians in Israel, and the Monitoring Committee, to start offering a third Corona vaccine to Israelis aged 50 and over, health care workers, patients with high-risk factors, prison inmates, and wardens. Prof. Ash has updated the HMO executives and starting Friday morning, people aged 50 and over can contact their HMOs to make an appointment for a third vaccine shot, popularly known as the “booster.”

The ministry is holding discussions to formulate the final guidelines regarding the various populations that should be included in the 3rd shot effort.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday night issued his elated reaction:

I commend the Corona Vaccine Advisory Team for making the right decision for the health of the citizens of Israel. Members of the team worked diligently, professionally, and thoroughly, and reached the conclusion that the third inoculation for people aged 50 and over, and for medical teams, is effective and correct.
The campaign to vaccinate people aged 60 and over has been a great success. Over 750,000 people have been vaccinated up until now and we are continuing to the next stage. This is an important step in the fight against the Delta pandemic.
I call on everyone over 50 to get in line tomorrow morning. Go get vaccinated. This is a great success. It is in our hands. Together with the Health Ministry, we have brought a great number of vaccines to Israel to facilitate quick action in vaccinating the public and protecting it from the Delta strain.
I also congratulate Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, and everyone in the health system for their dedicated work and for the leadership that they have shown at this complicated time.
We will continue treating the Delta pandemic in a thorough and responsible manner. We will safeguard lives and daily routines while balancing between health needs and economic needs and the livelihoods of the citizens of Israel.
Together – we will win.

Meanwhile, late Thursday night, the US Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations for the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to allow Americans with compromised immune systems to get the third dose. The change in the FDA regulation is specific to patients who have failed to forge an immune response against the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated. The FDA is hoping—among other things, based on initial positive reports from Israel—that the additional dose would give these patients the level of protection they need.

The results of a study conducted at Beilinson Hospital in Israel showed a doubling of the number of Corona antibodies in response to the third vaccine among heart, kidney, lung, and liver transplant recipients.

There were 6,083 new verified Corona patients in Israel on Thursday, based on 122,934 tests, or 4.94%. As of Friday morning, there are 462 patients in critical condition, out of whom 75 are on respirators. 6,611 died in Israel since the outbreak of the pandemic.

To date, 775,703 Israelis received the third dose of the vaccine, 5,409,455 the second dose, and 5,834,795 the first.

According to the Johns Hopkins website, there are roughly 205.5 million people who contracted the coronavirus around the world; 4.3 million have perished; and a total of 4.57 billion vaccine doses have been administered.

The US has seen 36.3 million cases of the coronavirus, 2.3 million over the past 28 days, with 619,093 dead, 11,478 of them over the past 28 days.

352.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US altogether, 14.4 million over the past 28 days.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.