Israel has started administering a fourth vaccination against the coronavirus for people with compromised immune systems.
The first lung and heart transplant patients were vaccinated early on Friday, the Shiba Hospital near Tel Aviv announced.
Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash had stated on Thursday that, for the time being, only people with immunodeficiency would receive a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
On Friday, the ministry also announced that Ash would also generally approve the administration of the fourth vaccination in care facilities for the elderly. The background was the concern about outbreaks in these facilities and the danger to the health and life of the residents.
Employees in old people's homes would also be allowed to receive the fourth vaccination if they so wished, the ministry said.
An expert panel had previously recommended that people aged 60 and older and medical staff be vaccinated for the fourth time, in addition to the immunocompromised, given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Ash said he was not yet convinced that this was necessary. However, further steps are being considered every day.
Fourth vaccination trial
The Shiba Hospital had begun a trial on Monday of the fourth vaccination against the coronavirus with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Israel has already ridden through the fourth wave of the pandemic, but, recently, infection figures have risen massively again.
Only about 60 per cent of the 9.4 million Israelis are still considered vaccinated, meaning they are twice-vaccinated and it is less than six months after the second vaccination, or they are people who have received a so-called booster vaccination.
A total of 31 per cent of the population are not vaccinated at all, and, for 9 per cent, the validity of the vaccination has already expired.