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Israel begins third dose of vaccine for vulnerable people

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: AFP/VNA

According to the Ministry of Health, those eligible for the third dose of the vaccine immediately include people who have had heart, lung and kidney transplants and some cancer patients. “There is increasing evidence that immunosuppressed patients do not develop an adequate immune response after two doses of the vaccine,” the Israeli Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Previously, Israel was considered to be the country that implemented the world’s fastest COVID-19 vaccination program with the first vaccine, Pfizer/BioNTech, and succeeded in reducing the number of daily cases to single digits by last month.

With more than 85% of the adult population fully immunized, Israel has seemingly lifted all its anti-epidemic restrictions. However, the appearance of the Delta variant – first detected in India in April, has caused the number of daily cases to increase again, to hundreds of cases per day.

Experts say there are some clear indications that the vaccine is less effective at preventing disease for the Delta variant.

As planned, the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv will start giving the third dose to some heart transplant patients from July 12.

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