Jerusalem (AFP)

The Israeli government lowered the minimum age from Thursday to Friday to 50 years old to be administered a third dose of anti-Covid vaccine in the hope of fighting a new wave of contamination linked to the Delta variant.

The Hebrew state had launched an initiative two weeks ago to allow people aged 60 and over to be administered a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, although the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) , whose recommendations the country generally follows, has not ruled on this practice.

The campaign has delivered booster doses to more than 770,000 Israelis, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.

In the process, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the minimum age for receiving this booster dose had been lowered to 50 years.

"The campaign to vaccinate the population aged 60 and over is a great success (...) It is an important step in the fight against the Delta variant and I call on everyone over the age of 50 to come forward. line up tomorrow (Friday) morning to get vaccinated, "the Israeli Prime Minister said in a statement, specifying that this decision had been validated by a committee of experts.

Israel was one of the first countries to launch a massive vaccination campaign in mid-December under an agreement with Pfizer that quickly delivered millions of paid doses in exchange for data on the effect. and the effectiveness of the vaccine on its population.

This campaign had made it possible to drastically drop the number of cases, but in recent weeks contamination has started to rise again with the spread of the Delta variant in unvaccinated adults but also in people vaccinated more than six months ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, August 8, 2021 in Jerusalem RONEN ZVULUN POOL / AFP / Archives

Hence the challenge of local health authorities to administer booster doses in the hope of strengthening the protection conferred by vaccines in the elderly, who are more at risk.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, called for a moratorium on these booster doses in order to leave more vaccines available for poor countries, where the vaccination rate remains low.

The Prime Minister replied that the administration of these booster doses in Israel, a country of nine million inhabitants, was not going to affect global stocks and rather allow the effectiveness of the 3rd dose to be tested.

© 2021 AFP