Herzog and his wife, Michal, were inoculated at the Sheba Medical Center, in Tel Aviv, on Friday. The politician praised the offer of a third vaccine dose for the over-60s, saying it was “vital to enable the normal circumstances of life … in this very challenging pandemic that humanity is faced with.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who accompanied the president, echoed Herzog’s pride in the scheme, calling Israel a “pioneer” for being one of the first states in the word to offer a booster shot to its citizens.
“The only way we can beat the pandemic is together … [and] together means sharing methods, technology, insights, and actionable steps. Israel is open to sharing all the information that we can gain from this bold move and we are going to win,” Bennett proclaimed.
The PM unveiled Israel’s plans to offer its older citizens a third vaccine to boost immunity on Thursday. The move was approved following recommendations from Israeli health experts, as well as data from Pfizer, which suggests booster shots are beneficial in enhancing the body’s immune response to the Delta variant.
Israel has stayed on top of the vaccine rollout, with around 59% of its population having been fully vaccinated so far, according to figures from the US’ Johns Hopkins University. However, it has been concerned about the efficacy of the Pfizer shot waning over time in the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that its protection against preventing serious symptoms had dropped to 80% – down from a previous 90% in March before the mutant strain began to run rampant in the country.