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Israel preparing for possible fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose

A health worker prepares a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Ichilov medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel.
A health worker prepares a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Ichilov medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel.Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg

Israel is making preparations to ensure it has a sufficient vaccine supply in case a fourth round of COVID-19 shots is needed, the country’s top health official said on Sunday.

“We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer,” Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash said in an interview with Radio 103FM.

Israel began a drive to administer booster shots at the beginning of August, and has so far inoculated about 2.8 million people with a third dose of coronavirus vaccine. Health officials have said that the effects of the initial shots weaken five months after inoculation, making boosters necessary.

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Asked about a report that Israel had promised Pfizer Inc. that it would use the company’s vaccine exclusively, Ash said that the government had made no such undertaking. He said that people over the age of 18 who get their first shot are currently being given the Moderna Inc. vaccine.