Israel lowers eligible Covid booster age to 30 amid climbing coronavirus caseload

Israel’s Health Ministry has announced that the eligible age for receiving a Covid booster shot has been lowered to include citizens over 30, as the tally of daily coronavirus cases continues to tick upwards.

The offer of a booster shot was extended to Israelis aged 30 years and above on Tuesday after the country’s Health Ministry took advice from its expert panel to lower the age requirement down from the previous 40+.

All Israelis who received their second dose of Pfizer over five months ago and are at least 30 years old can now come forward to get their third jab via their health providers, as the move instantly came into effect.

Israel is undergoing a surge in Covid infections from the highly contagious Delta variant, registering close to 10,000 cases on Monday alone, despite a wide vaccination intake.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus renewed his call on Monday for high-income nations to pause on administering Covid boosters. Instead, the WHO chief stated that resources should be prioritized for poorer countries with 1%-to-2% vaccination coverage to catch up in inoculating their populations.

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett implored members of the population to get a booster shot to thwart a potential fourth national lockdown, when the scheme was made accessible to those aged 40 and over last week.

Tel Aviv began offering its citizens a third shot at the end of July, beginning with its over-60s and rapidly working downwards in age. Since its introduction, almost 1.6 million Israelis have heeded the government’s call to take the top-up dose.

Over 63.5% of Israel’s population has received a first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, while almost 59% is fully inoculated, according to government statistics.