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Israel begins giving 3rd covid jab to over-60s

Elderly people receive a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at Mishan Efal Nursing Home, in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 23, 2020. [Nir Keidar - Anadolu Agency]
Elderly people receive a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at Mishan Efal Nursing Home, in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 23, 2020. [Nir Keidar - Anadolu Agency]

Israel today became the first country in the world to administer a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine to people over 60 years old who got the first two jabs at least five months ago.

"Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President of the State Isaac Herzog launched a campaign to give the third complementary dose of the anti-Coronavirus vaccine, in Sheba-Tel Hashomer Hospital," the Prime Minister's office said in a statement.

Bennett said the fresh push was being launched in order to care for the elderly in the country.

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal Herzog were both seen getting the booster shot.

In recent weeks, Israel has seen a significant rise in the number of coronavirus infections.

Over the past 24 hours, the country recorded 2,140 new infections, the Health Ministry said earlier on Friday.

Critical patients number167, it said in a statement, while the death toll stands at 6,466.

According to ministry data, roughly 5.7 million people have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, including 5.3 million who have received both doses.

Vaccine uptake in the territories occupied by Israel, however, has not been so high, as occupation authorities have not provided inoculations to Palestinians living under their brutal regime.

Human rights organisations have argued that international law requires Israel to provide Palestinians with similar access to vaccines as its own citizens as an occupying power. Many have said this is "Israel's vaccine apartheid".

READ: Iraq imports oxygen from Turkey as covid cases rise

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