The coronavirus booster shot is much more efficient than the first two doses in preventing infections and severe symptoms in case of illness, officials said in a press conference on Sunday.
Data collected thus far shows that while there's a slight drop in the level of antibodies, immunity to infections is not harmed. Health ministry officials are constantly monitoring data as Israel is expected to become the first country to face the waning effectiveness of the booster shot.
On Sunday, Israel's pandemic advisory panel recommended a COVID booster shot to be administered to teens. A decision was made based on studies conducted on adults rather than teens. The studies showed that the effect of the two vaccine doses diminishes after six months.
The health ministry will have to approve the move, before 12-15-year-olds can be inoculated.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to convene the coronavirus cabinet this week to further discuss Israel's approach to combat the virus.
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On Sunday, Bennett said that the pandemic is expected to stay "for another year or two." Unlike countries in Europe, Bennett explained that it's better to use booster shots before vaccinating the whole population.
On Sunday Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the cabinet that Israel "at the brink of what seems to be a wave of coronavirus infections among children,” but insisted that the rise in infection rate would not prompt new restrictions at this stage.
Against the backdrop of an increasing number of infections in Europe, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said that “we are monitoring a large number of variants, but we don’t see anything that causes concern. What’s happening in Europe is apparently a combination of the delta variant, which we’ve been experiencing here in Israel, and the dwindling effects of the vaccine.”
According to figures released Sunday morning, the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients remains relatively low at 131, of whom 89 are in critical condition and 80 are connected to ventilators.
According to Alroy-Preis, 76 percent of the confirmed cases last week were people who were unvaccinated, while 12 percent were people who had not yet received their third dose.