Government Disconnect on Vaccine Booster Shots

Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz holds a press conference at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on July 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz apparently jumped the gun on Sunday with an announcement that COVID booster shots were now available to adults at risk, after Israeli health providers said they hadn’t been notified of it.

“From now we’re giving a third shot to people who are immunocompromised,” Horowitz told national broadcaster Kan on Sunday morning, putting Israel ahead of other countries in offering third vaccine doses.

But people calling up to make an appointment for the shot were told that no such vaccines have been authorized, The Times of Israel reported.

Spokespersons for Maccabi and Leumit, two of the largest health providers in the country, confirmed that patients calling their hotlines are being told that no appointments are available for boosters.

A request for comment from the Health Ministry did not elicit an explanation for the disconnect between it and the health providers.

“Organized guidelines will be issued to all the relevant parties today,” the ministry said in an official response.

The booster shots being discussed are supposed to be available to those deemed at risk for various reasons, including lowered immunity to disease because they are transplant recipients.

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