Israel offers fourth coronavirus vaccine shot to vulnerable adults

Approval issued as the country registers an average of 75,000 new daily cases

A woman receives a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a nursing home in Tel Mond, Israel. Getty Images

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Israel has approved a fourth coronavirus vaccine dose for vulnerable adults amid an unprecedented surge in infections.

The additional shot will be given to people with underlying health conditions, those at risk of serious illness and their carers, the Health Ministry announced on Wednesday.

The ministry’s director general, Nachman Ash, rejected an earlier recommendation from health experts to offer a fourth dose to the entire adult population.

Vulnerable adults will be offered the extra shot after a gap of four months, which the ministry said has been proven to offer better protection against infection and severe disease.

A fourth dose of the vaccine has until now been available only to people over 60, five months after their third shot.

While some countries have followed Israel’s lead in administering a fourth dose, the World Health Organisation says offering a first dose to the global population must take precedence.

Israel delivered one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives last year but now trails behind many other nations.

For example, 64 per cent of Israel's population has received two doses, compared to 72 per cent in the UK, government figures show.

Israel is currently facing its biggest wave of infections during the pandemic to date.

An average of 75,000 new cases are being registered each day among the population of 9.4 million, Health Ministry data shows.

The previous surge hit in September and peaked at about 10,000 daily cases.

Hospital admissions and deaths have also been rising throughout January, although the government has held off on imposing additional curbs on daily life.

Updated: January 27, 2022, 9:55 AM