As Israel prepares for a new wave that the Omicron variant may cause in the country, it has announced that it plans to be the first country to administer the fourth dose of the Covid vaccine.
Israel’s pandemic experts have recommended a fourth dose of booster vaccine for those over 60 and healthcare workers.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett then instructed the authorities to implement the plan.
The decision was announced on Tuesday, when the first death in the country caused by the Omicron variant occurred.
The Ministry of Health announced that at least 340 cases in Israel were associated with the variant.
The decision to introduce a fourth booster dose still needs to be approved by senior health officials, but the Prime Minister’s office told the BBC it plans to give people the vaccine at least four months after the third dose.
“This is great news that will help us get through the Omicron wave that is sweeping the world,” said Bennett.
When the Covid-19 vaccination programs began, Israel took swift action.
Despite this, however, only about 63% of its population of 9.3 million received two doses. This is partly due to the fact that Israel is a relatively young country – about a third of its population is under the age of 14.
Israel also started vaccinating children over the age of 5 in November.
The country has imposed a travel ban to countries such as the USA, Germany, Italy and Canada to curb the spread of the virus.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Israel has seen around 8,200 deaths and more than 1.36 million cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.