COVID in Israel: Highest Booster Uptake in Month Ahead of New Vaccine Requirement

As key metrics continue to show signs that COVID is waning, the director-general of the Health Ministry cautiously predicts Israel is 'on the way' out of the fourth wave

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
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A nurse prepares a COVID vaccine in a Clalit clinic in Jerusalem, earlier this week
A nurse prepares a COVID vaccine in a Clalit clinic in Jerusalem, earlier this weekCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

Almost 78,000 Israelis received the booster shot against coronavirus on Thursday, the highest figure in almost a month, with new requirements for the Green Pass set to come into effect on Sunday.

On top of this, another 20,000 people received either their first or second dose of the inoculation on Thursday. 

The rush to vaccinate comes ahead of Israel's new requirements for its Green Pass. From Sunday, Israelis must have received their third jab of the coronavirus vaccine, or their second dose in the past 6 months, to have their pass reissued. As of Friday, some 1.5 million Israelis will be ineligible for the new green passport. 

In recent days, Israel has witnessed progress along several key indicators, revealing that the virus is on the retreat. Serious cases hit an almost six-week low, and fell to 586 on Friday. Seventy-three percent of seriously ill cases on Friday were unvaccinated, with under seven percent of the new serious cases receiving all three doses of the vaccine. 

On Friday, the Health Ministry's director-general, Prof. Nachman Ash, told 103FM that he doesn't think that additional restrictions are required if current trends continue. When asked if the fourth wave is coming to an end, he responded: "We are on the way...but I say this with a lot of caution."

The R number  – the number of people each coronavirus carrier infects  – also reached its lowest point since May. The number, which reflects the average from the previous 10 days, now stands at 0.72, showing that the pandemic is shrinking.

Despite the momentum, the positive test rate rose slightly – from 3.61 percent on Wednesday to 3.81 percent on Thursday, though 15,000 more tests were taken.

Thirty-two deaths from the coronavirus were reported on Thursday. Since the pandemic broke out in March 2020, 7,766 people have died in Israel. 

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