Israel Offers Covid Boosters to Over 30s

YERUSHALAYIM -
Magen David worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis at a Drive-In COVID-19 rapid antigen test complex in Glilot, on Aug. 12. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry announced Tuesday that Israelis over the age of 30 are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, lowering the minimum age from 40.

The new policy is effective immediately and those in the age group should turn to their health providers to set up appointments, the ministry said.

A statement from the Health Ministry said its decision to lower the age of eligibility for a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine from 40 to 30 followed a recommendation of its advising experts and its epidemiology task force and vaccines committee. Boosters are administered to people who have received their second dose at least five months ago.

This comes after Israel registered almost 10,000 new cases on Monday – the second-highest ever daily record in the country after Jan. 18.

Health authorities are hopeful that the booster will help stop the outbreak.

So far some 1.57 million Israelis have received the third shot, including 16% of the cohort 40-49, 40% of individuals 50-59, 61% of people ages 60-69, 77% of those 70-79, 72% of the cohort 80-89, and 67% of people over 90.

The number of first doses administered every day is also picking up speed, with over 10,000 shots given each of the past two days, up from a few thousand a day.

The Health Ministry and Magen David Adom launched an initiative on Monday to send mobile vaccination stations to all towns and neighborhoods with a low vaccination rate.

In the past few days, the number of serious patients appeared to be stabilizing: there were 678 on Tuesday morning, after fluctuating between 664 and 690 on Monday and around 680 on Sunday.