Israeli President Isaac Herzog received a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, a day after reports emerged that the country would begin offering a third jab to those over 60. Herzog rolled up his sleeve for a third time at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan to kick off the latest campaign, Reuters reported.
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Herzog is 60 years old. The country had previously been offering a third jab to adults considered at-risk. The U.S. has not done so, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA initially issuing a sharp response to Pfizer’s announcement that it would seek emergency use authorization for a booster. At the time, the CDC and FDA said fully vaccinated Americans did not need to seek a booster.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has since seemingly opened the door to the potential for some adults to “likely” need one. Pfizer has also recently released data indicating that a booster would increase protection against circulating variants, and vaccine efficiency drops to about 84% six months after the second dose.
Herzog’s wife also received a booster dose, Reuters reported. The Israeli president told reporters he was proud to start the campaign “which is so vital to enable normal circumstances of life as much as possible in this very challenging pandemic.”
″Israel is a pioneer in going ahead with the third dose for older people of the age of 60 and above,″ Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennet, said.
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More than 57% of the country’s 9.3 million citizens have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and over 80% of people over 40 are vaccinated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.