Over quarter of a million Israelis get 3rd COVID-19 shot in 4 days

August 6, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Over a quarter of a million Israelis over the age of 60 have received the third Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, as the country races to prevent a looming lockdown.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on the production line. Credit: Mike Mareen/Shutterstock

The Ministry of Health updated Thursday that from Sunday, 262,563 people aged 60 and over received the third dose, constituting about 21% of the 1.2 million people aged 60 who are eligible to receive the shot, amid concerns of waning immunity.

80,166 were vaccinated on Wednesday, and about another 381,000 appointments have been booked to receive the third shot.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated last week that his goal was to inoculate some 1.5 million Israelis above the age of 60 in a week.

Israel is the first country in the world to take this step to provide a COVID-19 booster shot, even before the FDA approved it. Israel hopes to curb the rise in infections, or at least the number of severe COVID-19 cases, with the third booster shot, and by urging those who have not been vaccinated at all to go and do so.

Around one million Israelis have yet to receive even one vaccination, and this process has almost reached a stalemate.

Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an expert on COVID-19 in Israel, said that 1.1 million Israelis have not been vaccinated, and “if they had been vaccinated, it is very likely that there would not have been a wave of illness here. Certainly not to this extent. Here had to be the main effort, and we failed. We did not do enough.”

While “it is impossible and wrong to force [citizens to get vaccinated], much more can be done,” he said.

In the meantime, the number of daily cases and patients in severe condition continued to rise. The Health Ministry updated Thursday that it recorded 3,421 in the past 24 hours, the third consecutive day in which the 3,000 cases mark was passed.

Of some 102,000 tests done on Wednesday, 3.3% of the tests returned positive, the highest percentage recorded in months.

Of the patients currently hospitalized, 65% have been vaccinated and 32% have not.

The number of Corona patients hospitalized in severe condition rose to 241, of them 51 are on life support.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, 6,503 Corona patients have died, 26 of them since the beginning of August.

The ministerial committee on fighting the Coronavirus decided earlier this week on a list of new restrictions, in an attempt to stem the skyrocketing new daily COVID-19 cases and in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a countrywide lockdown, Israel’s fourth.

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