Israel has approved a fourth vaccine dose for people most vulnerable to Covid-19, becoming the first country to do so as it braces for a wave of infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.
Director general of the Health Ministry, Nachman Ash, announced the decision at a press conference late on Thursday.
He said the decision is based on early research, and that officials will consider expanding the administration of a fourth dose to more of the public as they assess the Omicron situation.
Also see: Covid Omicron variant will soon replace Delta as dominant global variant: Experts
Israel was among the first countries to roll out Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine a year ago and began freely offering boosters last summer. But it still saw a wave of infections blamed on the Delta variant, and officials have warned of another Covid wave driven by the fast-spreading Omicron.
Earlier Thursday, Israel received its first shipment of pills that treat the worst effects of Covid-19.
Israel currently has more than 20,000 active patients, including 94 who are seriously ill. At least 8,243 people have died from Covid-19 in Israel since the start of the pandemic.