Naftali Bennett says Israel doing world a 'great service' with Covid booster shots

WION Web Team
Jerusalem Published: Aug 06, 2021, 07:04 AM(IST)

Naftali Bennett Photograph:( Reuters )

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With the Israeli government recently rolling out a third shot for the over-60s, nearly 60 percent of Israel's 9.3 million people have had two jabs, mostly of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday that Israel was doing the world a "great service" by administering Covid vaccine booster shots, despite the World Health Organization's plea for a moratorium.

With the Israeli government recently rolling out a third shot for the over-60s, nearly 60 percent of Israel's 9.3 million people have had two jabs, mostly of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Also read | Halt the boosters: WHO says it is 'unacceptable' that some countries are using most of vaccine's global supply

"Whoever is over the age of 60, and has yet to receive the third dose of the vaccine, is six times more susceptible to severe illness and heaven forbid, death," Bennett said.

In an online discussion with the public and journalists, Bennett said Israel's drive to give third doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people over 60 would provide vital information to the world on combating the Delta variant.

Israel, with a population of 9.3 million, was a small country whose vaccine use "doesn't really affect the world supply significantly", he added.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on Wednesday for a halt to boosters until at least the end of September, saying it was unacceptable for rich countries to use more of the global vaccine supply.

Since Sunday, Israel has been recording an average of more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases a day, with 250 people in serious condition, the highest since April.

The rise in infections is a step back after its world-leading vaccine campaign drove down new Covid-19 cases from 10,000 a day to fewer than 100.

More than 250,000 Israelis over the age 60, or over 20 percent of those currently eligible, had received a booster shot by Wednesday, the health ministry said.

Israel had lifted most Covid restrictions in early June, but began reimposing some of them last month following the resurgence of cases.

From Sunday, unvaccinated people will be required to present a negative Covid test of less than 24 hours, the health ministry said Thursday, adding that health passes would be extended to children under 12 from August 20.

(With inputs from agencies)

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