December 22, 2021
Israel plans to offer a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
The country has led the way in vaccination plans across the globe and is believed to be the first to offer a fourth round of doses, according to The New York Times.
The move "will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday.
The death of at least one person from COVID-19 in the country has been linked to the Omicron variant, officials said: an older man who had received two vaccine doses but not a third one.
"The state of Israel is continuing to stand at the forefront of the global effort to deal with the pandemic," Bennett said.
Israel was one of the first countries to administer vaccines last year and has provided doses faster than most other countries, the newspaper reported. Bennett was also one of the first world leaders to approve third vaccine doses this summer and allow people ages 5 and older to get shots last month.
On Tuesday, he said medical teams would begin giving fourth vaccine doses to medical workers and those who are 60 years old or older.
Bennett also announced plans to slow the Omicron variant by enforcing more stringent entry requirements for travelers, banning the entry of all foreigners without a special exemption, and barring Israelis from traveling without special permission to 58 countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
The number of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant doubled in Israel on Tuesday to 340, the newspaper reported, while the total number of cases increased to 1,306. That was the highest daily figure reported in nearly 2 months.
Bennett said Israel is at the beginning of a fifth virus wave and has called on citizens to get vaccinated, work from home, and wear masks.