Israel broke new ground this week as the first country to launch a third vaccination campaign combatting the resurgence of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Starting last Sunday, all vaccinated adults over the age of 60 and those over the age 18 with pre-existing health conditions will be able to access a booster shot at their local health clinics. 

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the campaign last Thursday, and on Friday, President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal officially got it under way by receiving their booster shots. The booster shot is available only to those who received both vaccine doses five months ago or more. 

The additional vaccine will not affect the validity of the Green Pass, which permits entry for vaccinated individuals into public indoor spaces, or vaccination record cards. According to a small-scale study by Pfizer, the producer of the vaccine, a third dose may strengthen immune response to the Delta strain currently contributing to the dramatic spike in cases. The booster shot is identical to the first two vaccine shots. 

Israeli teen receives COVID-19 vaccine shot at a vaccination center. (Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In recent weeks, the State of Israel has received about 200,000 Pfizer vaccine doses, which were originally earmarked for the vaccination of adolescents. Israel will receive additional shipments starting this week in order to meet the demand for the third vaccine.