In view of the rising number of infections, Israel wants to be the first country to give over 60-year-olds a third dose of vaccine against the coronavirus. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday evening that this applies to patients who received their second dose of vaccine at least five months ago. A team of experts in Israel had previously recommended such a booster vaccination with the Biontech Pfizer preparation, although there is still no corresponding FDA requirement. Bennett said 60-year-old President Izchak Herzog would be the first to get the third dose on Friday morning.

The general vaccination campaign in the health insurance companies should start within a few days. "I call on older people who have already received the second dose to be vaccinated for the third time," he said. "This protects against serious illness and death." According to the head of government, 2000 people with immunodeficiency in Israel have already received such a third dose without any serious side effects.

The background to this are figures from the ministry, according to which the effectiveness of the Biontech / Pfizer vaccination used in Israel has decreased significantly since the beginning of June.

According to the ministry, the vaccination only prevents corona infection by 39 percent and serious illnesses by 91 percent.

At the same time, the more contagious Delta variant is spreading in the country, it said.

However, government experts also criticize the fact that the effectiveness figures are not scientifically collected.

In the spring it was said that the vaccination prevented 95.8 percent of the corona disease.

Hospital stays, serious illness and death would be prevented by around 99 percent.

The number of new corona infections reported in Israel within one day has already exceeded the 2000 mark for three days in a row.

On Thursday morning, the Ministry of Health reported 2,165 new infections for the previous day.

159 corona patients are seriously ill.

More than 57 percent of the population are fully vaccinated.

Portugal announces easing

Portugal wants to relax its corona restrictions from Sunday.

"It is time to handle the pandemic according to the crucial criterion of vaccinations," Prime Minister António Costa said in Lisbon on Thursday.

A relaxation in three stages is planned, based on the progress of the vaccination campaign.

A vaccination rate of 57 percent should be achieved by Sunday.

Then shops, restaurants and theaters are allowed to open again until 2 a.m.

There is no longer any obligation to work from home and the nightly curfew in the most affected areas will be lifted.

The government plans to have 70 percent of the population vaccinated by September.

Then the mask requirement in the open air should also be dropped.

If a vaccination quota of 85 percent is reached by October, bars and nightclubs should also be reopened for those who have been vaccinated and those who have tested negative.

After the number of infections had risen due to the delta variant of the corona virus, the numbers fell again in recent weeks, according to Costa.

"The vaccination has made a very positive contribution." Since the pandemic began, more than 960,000 people in the country with its ten million inhabitants have been infected with the corona virus and more than 17,000 have died.

Digital vaccination certificate back in pharmacies

The first pharmacies in Germany are issuing digital corona vaccination certificates again after an interruption.

The service for vaccinated people will gradually be started again, as the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (Abda) announced on Thursday in Berlin.

However, if you want to have the certificate, you should find out which pharmacy you can go to for this purpose on the website

At first it was not known how many pharmacies are already issuing certificates again.

It is expected that in the next few days most of them will be reconnected to the necessary system, said an Abda spokesman.

This depends on the respective IT service provider.

A good week ago, the German Pharmacists Association (DAV) stopped issuing digital certificates after consulting the Federal Ministry of Health.

The reason was evidence of a security vulnerability.

The "Handelsblatt" had therefore succeeded in creating a guest access for a non-existent pharmacy owner "with the help of professionally forged documents" on the DAV server, with which two vaccination certificates were then issued online.

“All access granted has been checked and verified;

the legality of all other accesses was confirmed ”, affirmed the Abda now.

Technical steps for more security have also been implemented.