A Health Ministry expert panel Thursday night voted for the expansion of the coronavirus booster shot campaign, which was only available for citizens aged 60 and over, to include other demographics as well, chief among them are the over 50s.
Other populations that have become eligible for the jab are medical teams, people with underlying health conditions, prison guards and prisoners.
The decision is still pending the final authorization of Health Ministry Prof. Nachman Ash which he is highly likely to approve.
Data collected from over 650,000 Israelis who have received the booster shot was presented to the ministry panel and showed that protection against coronavirus doubled after receiving the third vaccine dose.
However, Health Ministry Head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis reserved that the population that was vaccinated for the third time is probably much more careful than their unvaccinated counterparts, potentially explaining lower morbidity rates.
The discussion was held after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced earlier Thursday Israel was expanding its booster shot vaccination campaign to include citizens younger than 60.
Data also showed that recently vaccinated 12–15-year-olds enjoyed greater protection from the highly transmissible Delta variant than adults who have been fully dosed.
Even before the decision was made, Israel's largest health maintenance organization (HMO) announced it will allow clients aged 50 and over to book an appointment to get the supplementary jab.
"The vaccine is the best tool at our disposal to prevent and reduce morbidity. Along with the effort to vaccinate with the booster shot, we continue the effort to vaccinate with the first dose as well," Clalit Deputy CEO Eli Cohen said.
"According to studies, the vaccine has been proven to be safe, prevents severe illness, contributes to good health, protects those around us and allows us to lead a normal life that we all want to maintain. Come get vaccinated, our teams are waiting for you. "