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Israel to Administer 4th Round of Covid Vaccines

todayDecember 22, 2021 1

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JERUSALEM — Israel, which late last year was an early trailblazer in its efforts to administer a first coronavirus vaccine dose to its citizens, now plans to offer fourth doses in a bid to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, officials said on Tuesday.

It is believed to be the first country to offer a fourth round of doses. And as with its earlier inoculation efforts, countries around the world will be looking to Israel for clues about how their own campaigns might fare.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed the move as “wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world.” He added, “The state of Israel is continuing to stand at the forefront of the global effort to deal with the pandemic.”

At least one person in the country is confirmed to have died from the Omicron variant — an older man who had received two vaccine doses but not a third one, health officials said on Tuesday.

The United States has also reported at least one death from the variant. Health officials in Texas said that an unvaccinated Houston-area man who died on Monday had Omicron. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in October that some adults with compromised immune systems would be eligible for a fourth shot of the vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

His other efforts to slow the rise of Omicron have included enforcing more stringent entry requirements for incoming travelers, banning the entry of all foreigners without a special exemption and barring Israelis from traveling without special permission to 58 countries, including the United States, Canada and Britain.

The number of Omicron cases in Israel doubled on Tuesday to 340, the health ministry said, while the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 1,306 — the highest daily figure in nearly two months, though still proportionally lower than in many developed countries.

Mr. Bennett has said that Israel is at the beginning of a fifth virus wave, and has called on people in the country to vaccinate themselves and their children, to work from home and to increase their wearing of masks.

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todayDecember 22, 2021