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PM Bennett gets third Covid-19 vaccine, hails Israel as ‘pioneer of the third dose’ after WHO asks nations to hold off on boosters

PM Bennett gets third Covid-19 vaccine, hails Israel as ‘pioneer of the third dose’ after WHO asks nations to hold off on boosters

Israel’s PM has received his third Covid-19 vaccine as the country’s health ministry extends the booster campaign to citizens over the age of 40 despite a World Health Organization request to redirect shots to poorer nations.

On Friday, the Israeli Health Ministry announced that over 40s could now come forward for their third dose of Covid-19 vaccines, providing they received their second shot at least five months ago.

The ministry also urged teachers, health workers, pregnant women of all ages and carers of the elderly to book their appointments. It was also stipulated that they could only get their booster shot if they received their second dose at least five months earlier. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 49, was among the first in his age group to get the booster jab. “We're seeing profound effectiveness, efficacy of the vaccines. It's working, it's safe and it's the way to defeat this virus,” Bennett said in a video before receiving his injection. The prime minister said Israel was a “pioneer of the third dose” against Covid-19. 

Bennett also told Israelis that by getting their third shot they could help the country avoid a fourth, and economically painful, national lockdown. He added that Israel would share its data on third jabs with the rest of the world. 

The US, UK, Canada, France and Germany are among nations who have announced plans for a booster shot campaign, citing diminishing protection from two doses over time. The World Health Organization has previously called on nations to not administer Covid-19 booster shots until at least the end of September, in an effort to increase vaccine coverage across the globe. 

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Speaking in early August, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said high-income countries have administered around 100 vaccine doses per 100 people, while the figure in low-income nations was just 1.5 doses per 100 people.

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