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Israel is offering a third COVID vaccine dose to those with weak immune systems

July 12, 2021, 3:24 PM UTC

Israeli health providers will begin offering a third dose of COVID-19 messenger RNA vaccine to patients with weakened immune systems, following approval by health officials on Monday.

“Due to the increase in morbidity and the spread of the virus in recent weeks, and the high risk for immunosuppressed patients to become seriously ill, these patients can be given a third dose,” the ministry said in a letter to health providers.

Eligible patients include those who have undergone heart, lung, kidney or liver transplants and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Israel has been experiencing a new surge in cases. About 57% of Israelis are fully vaccinated, almost all with the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine.

Pfizer announced on July 9 that it plans to request U.S. emergency authorization in August for a third booster dose for the general population, based on early data showing it can sharply increase immune protection. U.S. health officials signaled they would take a cautious approach to potential booster shots.

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