Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
A minor receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a Clalit HMO station in Jerusalem, September 20, 2021.

Ahead of Israel’s entry into the new Green Tag regime on Sunday, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals who lined up to receive the third “booster” dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. On Thursday about 78,000 received their third dose, and on Wednesday, immediately following the end of the Jewish holidays’ cycle, about 60,000.

Starting this coming Sunday, the conditions for eligibility for the Green Tag and the definition of who is vaccinated will change. All the old green tags will be eliminated and eligible people will have to reissue their green tags. As of Friday, about 1,991,000 people are expected to lose their green tag. The new tag will include a digital signature, which business owners will need to scan to allow shoppers to enter. The design of the new tag will be different so that it can be distinguished from the green tags that were used in the past.

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President of Shaare Zedek Hospital Professor Yonatan Halevi told Reshet Bet radio Friday morning that “there’s no doubt that the third vaccine confers exceptional protection against serious illness.”

Professor Halevi added that eight patients are currently connected to the Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines – all of them not vaccinated. “Most of the patients who are in a serious condition have not been vaccinated, and the conclusion is clear,” he said, and explained: “Critical patients stay in the hospital for a long time and are usually connected to an ECMO machine for weeks.”

According to the Health Ministry, 3,404,619 have received the third dose as of Friday morning. With 5,641,166 having received the second dose, a total of 2,236,547 should receive the third dose to come close to herd immunity.

The Health Ministry released on Friday morning a statement saying it systematically follows, monitors, and collects information on the side effects reported after vaccinations, and the results of this follow-up are unequivocally consistent with the determination of the world’s leading scientific and medical authorities: the vaccines are safe and effective, and the side effects if there are any, are mild and transient.

According to the same statement, the third vaccine dose has been accompanied by a smaller rate of reported symptoms (e.g. fatigue, weakness, local pain at the injection site) compared to the previous doses. The number of significant effects observed in the third vaccine amounted to only 19 (in some of which their connection to the vaccine is still being tested), out of about 3.4 million vaccinated in the third vaccine.

As to reports of the appearance in adolescents of myocarditis—a.k.a. inflammatory cardiomyopathy, inflammation of the heart muscle with symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased ability to exercise, and an irregular heartbeat—the Health Ministry stated that as of Sept. 25, 21, 11 cases were reported in individuals age 12-15, out of 331,538 (near-zero rate) who were vaccinated with the first dose, and 255,444 (also near-zero rate: 0.00043%) who were vaccinated with the second dose.

The numbers indicate that myocarditis after the vaccine is a very rare phenomenon, which also usually passes after a short time. It should also be stressed that the risk of myocarditis as a result of Corona is much higher than its risk as a result of the vaccine.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.