Covid-19: Israel becomes first country in the world to introduce fourth vaccine dose

On Tuesday, the country's health ministry reported at least 340 cases of the coronavirus variant

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Wed 22 Dec 2021, 1:18 PM

Israel has announced the rollout of a fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for health workers, as well as those aged 60 and above, making it the first country in the world to do so.

The fourth dose can also be administered to people with compromised immune systems, according to the Israeli Health Ministry. In general, those eligible for the fourth dose can receive it if there is at least a four-month gap between their third and fourth doses. Most Israelis have already been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The latest move comes as nations around the world battle a surge in Covid-19 infections due to the Omicron variant.

Professor Galia Rahav, a member of an expert panel on the coronavirus, told CNN what pushed them to recommend a fourth dose, despite the decision being a difficult one. "We don't really have data yet on the level of immunity, like we did when we decided on the third dose, but on the other hand, there is really scary data out there in the rest of the world... In a situation like this, if you don't act immediately, you miss the train."

Israel has been at the forefront of the frenetic race to achieve 100 per cent vaccination in the country. In July, the country had quickly increased the production and distribution of booster doses (third doses) of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, to be administered to those with at least a five-month gap since their second dose.


"The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and we are continuing to pioneer with the fourth dose as well," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, welcoming the recommendation, and encouraging eligible citizens to get their fourth dose as soon as possible. “Go and get vaccinated”, he urged.

On Tuesday, the country reported 1,356 new Covid-19 cases, of which at least 340 were cited as Omicron variant cases.

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