Israeli Expert Panel Recommends 3rd Vaccine Dose for People over 60

Naftali Bennett (Amir Cohen / Pool / AFP / Getty)
Amir Cohen / Pool / AFP / Getty

An expert panel in Israel approved a proposal Wednesday to provide a third dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to people over 60 years of age, given that they frequently struggle to make antibodies and may therefore be vulnerable to infection.

The recommendation, which is expected to be approved Thursday by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, comes as Israel is struggling to contain a new spike in coronavirus cases, many of which are linked to the highly contagious delta variant.

The Times of Israel reported:

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to announce his support for older Israelis to receive a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine after a government-appointed panel of health experts gave a nod to the trailblazing initiative on Wednesday evening.

The panel’s position will be presented to Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz during a Thursday morning meeting, after which the prime minister is expected to announce his backing for Israelis above the age of 60 to receive a third dose of the vaccine.

The vote by the panel was not unanimous, according to Hebrew media, but a majority supported booster shots for older Israelis, against the backdrop of the rising number of seriously ill patients in recent weeks.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 71, supports the third dose, or “booster” shot, after a serological test showed that his own antibody levels were low, the Times of Israel reported.

However, one expert on the panel vocally opposed the proposal for a third dose, warning that questions remained about how to administer it to the public without a clearer policy about how it is to be distributed: “Even if it is restricted to the elderly, such an action can unleash a Wild West of sorts, where anyone with low antibodies — or someone who simply believes they’re entitled to a third dose — will demand and expect one.”

Some experts warn that Israel has a two-week window in which to act to stop the new surge, before it will be forced to return to the coronavirus lockdowns of the past, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Israeli officials have also approved vaccines for children under the age of five with severe illnesses that could make COVID-19 deadly, reasoning that the risks of coronavirus for those children far outweigh the risks of side effects from the vaccine.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, How to Write: $50,000 of Lessons for $5. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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