Israel May Deny Green Passports to People Who Have Not Received COVID Booster

Health Minister Horowitz says that since the vaccine loses effectiveness over time, proof of immunity will no longer be valid for those who have not had the booster

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Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in Kafr Qasem, on Monday.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in Kafr Qasem, on Monday.Credit: Moti Milrod

People who do not receive a coronavirus booster shot will eventually be denied a so-called green passport, which allows entry into various venues, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Tuesday.

“This is simply because, in terms of its effectiveness, the vaccine is valid only for a period of five or six months,” Horowitz told Channel 13 television. “After about half a year, you have to get a third dose. Otherwise, the vaccine loses its power.”

“The Green Pass testifies that a person is safe in a certain way,” he added. “So the moment we know that the vaccine loses its effectiveness after a certain period, there’s no justification for giving a green pass to someone who hasn’t gotten another dose.”

Nevertheless, he said, the booster will become a requirement for a Green Pass only when the shot is available to everyone aged 12 and older. Currently, only people aged 30 and up qualify for the third dose.

Earlier Tuesday, the Health Ministry approved giving the third shot to anyone aged 30 and over who had received the second dose at least five months ago. It had previously only been available to people aged 40 and up. The move was recommended by a number of expert advisory committees. So far, 1,575,898 Israelis have gotten the third dose.

"The doctors who decide this, who advise us, the vaccine committee, are going with the method of gradual stages to make it 100 percent safe," Horowitz said on Kan Bet public radio. "I assume that in a very short time, it will be available for everyone."

The decision to lower the age for receiving the booster was based on data accumulated from older people, which showed the third shot to be both safe and effective, in the hopes that it will lower the rising infection rates. More than 80 experts have participated in discussions of the booster in recent weeks.

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