‘Vaccines save lives!’ Israel introduces world-first fourth dose of Covid jab for over-60s

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The announcement comes at a time when the entire world is struggling with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Israel confirmed the first known death of a patient with the strain on Tuesday.

So far, the country has reported 340 known cases of Omicron as of data released on Tuesday.

A health ministry expert panel recommended the fourth shot, a decision welcomed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

He said: “This is wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world.

“The State of Israel is continuing to stand at the forefront of the global effort to deal with the pandemic.

“The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and we are continuing to pioneer with the fourth dose as well.”

While the decision is yet to receive a final nod from the top health officials, Mr Bennett urged eligible Israelis to get the dose as soon as possible.

He said: “I call on everyone who meets the criteria that the members of the committee have set: Go and get vaccinated.

“Take responsibility for the health and livelihoods of us all.

“The vaccines save lives.”

A man in his 60s was the first patient to die due to the Omicron variant.

According to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, the deceased suffered from a number of serious pre-existing conditions.

He died two weeks after he was admitted to a coronavirus ward at the hospital.

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The hospital in a statement said: “His morbidity stemmed mainly from pre-existing sicknesses and not from respiratory infection arising from the coronavirus.”

Earlier this week, Israel imposed a travel ban on countries including the US, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Canada in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

The government is also requesting people to work from home, with the prime minister’s office approving reduced office attendance for 50% of public sector workers.

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