Israel will provide a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 60 and medical staff, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday, also warning of growing contamination with the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Speaking at a news conference on the pandemic, Bennett said that the Ministry of Health had agreed to the administration of the fourth dose, after authorizing it for vulnerable people two days ago.
“The Omicron wave is here and we need to protect ourselves,” he said.
Health officials on Thursday issued a green light for vaccinating immune-compromised people with the fourth dose of the vaccine.
Shortly after the vaccination began, Nachman Ash, director of the Ministry of Health, authorized the immediate administration of a fourth dose to residents of nursing homes and geriatric patients. Last week, the first shipment of anti-coronavirus pills from Pfizer arrived in Israel on Thursday.
In recent days, there has been a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases, which does not translate, at least for the time being, into a significant increase in hospitalizations. On Sunday, authorities reported 4,206 new cases of infection and a 195 percent increase in a week, which could quickly lead to additional pressure on the medical system.
“We can expect 5,000 new cases a day soon,” Bennett warned, reiterating the call for mass vaccination of adults and children.
In the country of 9.2 million, where more than half of the population already received the third booster dose, serious cases are now concentrated among unvaccinated people, according to data released by authorities.