The national pandemic coordinator Salman Zarka said on Saturday that Israel should start preparing for the eventual rollout of the 4th dose of the coronavirus vaccine, without specifying when this is likely to happen.
On Saturday, Israel’s national coronavirus czar urged the country to begin planning for the eventual administration of 4th dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
4th vaccine dose in Israel
Professor Salman Zarka, who was appointed Israel’s Chief Covid-19 Officer in July, spoke to Israel’s Kan public radio about the need for second booster shots, but did not propose a timetable for doing so.
“Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,” Salman Zarka told Kan public radio.
Zarka also stated that the next booster shot could be altered to better protect against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, such as the highly infectious Delta strain. “This is our life from now on, in waves,” he said.
“It seems that if we learn the lessons from the fourth wave, we must consider the [possibility of subsequent] waves with the new variants, such as the new one from South America,” he said previously, reports Times of Israel.
“And thinking about this and the waning of the vaccines and the antibodies, it seems every few months — it could be once a year or five or six months — we’ll need another shot.”
Zarka predicted that by late 2021 or early 2022, Israel will be administering vaccines that are specifically designed to cope with variants.
Israel, the first country to offer a third dose, began its COVID booster campaign on August 1, extending it to everyone over the age of 60. It then gradually reduced the eligibility age, finally lowering it to anyone aged 12 and up who received the second shot at least five months ago last week.
Over 2.5 million Israelis had received the third dose as of Friday.
Green Pass system
The Health Ministry also announced last week that the “Green Pass” system — a document that allows entry into certain gatherings and public places for those who have been vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus — will expire six months after the holder received their second or third dose, implying that a fourth dose could be administered in six months.
The Health Ministry reported 11,269 new coronavirus infections the day before on Friday. The figure for Thursday was slightly lower than the daily record of 11,274 infections confirmed on Wednesday.
Despite rising infection rates, serious cases have begun to decline since reaching a high of 753 on Sunday, with the Health Ministry reporting that 654 people were in critical condition as of Friday afternoon due to COVID-19 complications.
On Thursday, the positive test rate was 8.43 percent, the highest it has been during the current morbidity wave. The death toll was 7,129.