Israel's COVID-19 team recommends 4th shot for 60+, medical workers

Israel was the first in the world to provide a third shot and will lead in giving a fourth shot too, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett noted.

A Clalit health worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at Cinema City in Jerusalem. (photo credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)
A Clalit health worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at Cinema City in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)

The Pandemic Response team ruled on Tuesday night that anyone over the age of 60 and medical workers could receive a fourth shot of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry said.

The shot will be available four months after receiving the third dose.

In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the committee for the move, which he said will “help us overcome the Omicron wave that is sweeping the world.”

He noted that Israel was the first in the world to provide a third shot and will lead in giving the fourth shot too. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already provides a fourth shot to immunocompromised people. In October, the CDC updated its guidelines saying that moderately or severely immunocompromised people who receive three shots as their primary dose can receive a booster dose, too, for a total of four COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Another vaccine for people over the age of 60 and for medical staff of all ages,” tweeted Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. “This is our top priority for Omicron: Protecting the adults who are most vulnerable and keeping the medical staff safe.

“No need to wait,” he continued. “Go get vaccinated.”

 Children receive their dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at a Clallit vaccine center in Jerusalem on December16, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Children receive their dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at a Clallit vaccine center in Jerusalem on December16, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Bennett’s office said that the fourth vaccine campaign will kick off immediately. Bennett called on the Home Front Command, senior health officials and all of the health funds to prepare for it.

In addition, the Pandemic Response Team recommended that the waiting period between the second and third vaccine be reduced from five to three months. A formal announcement, including any additional details, is expected to be made by Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash in the coming days.

These decisions come as more than 150 new Omicron cases were discovered in Israel in the last day and daily coronavirus cases in general are reaching records not seen since October.