In a first across the globe, Israel rolled out a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine to its high-risk patients, amidst a rise in daily cases due to the Delta variant. As of now, no other country, including the US, has given an official authorization for a third booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Israel has become the first country in the world to begin distributing third dose booster shots to adults with impaired immune systems, based on “accumulating evidence” indicating they aren’t well enough protected after their initial doses. On Monday, Israel gave a green flag to healthcare providers, saying they were now allowed to administer the third dose on at-risk patients.
Immediately after the order, the Sheba Medical Center invited dozens of its heart transplant patients for boosters on Monday afternoon.
“There is accumulating evidence that patients with immunosuppression do not develop a satisfactory antibody response after two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and some of them may develop antibodies after a third dose,” wrote Dr. Emilia Anis, head of the ministry’s epidemiological unit.
Going forward, Israel might administer the third dose on all of its citizens, aged 12 and up. “This is a good decision, responding to the unique needs of those who are immunocompromised,” said Gershoni, a biochemist from Tel Aviv University. “My concern is that people will read between the lines and think that we all need booster shots.”