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July 29, 2021, 5:03 p.m. EDT

Israel to offer Pfizer vaccine booster shots to those over 60

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Associated Press

JERUSALEM — A leading Israeli health provider says it will soon begin offering a third booster COVID-19 shot to patients over age 60 who have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Context: Pfizer says COVID-19 immunity drops to 83% within four months among the vaccinated, further bolstering the company’s case for booster shots

Maccabi, one of Israel’s four publicly funded health maintenance organizations, says the vaccinations will start on Sunday.

The announcement came shortly ahead of a nationally televised news conference by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is expected to unveil a nationwide booster shot program. It would make Israel among the first countries to launch a widespread campaign offering its vaccinated citizens a third dose.

The effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine wanes slightly over time but it remains strongly protective for at least six months after the second dose, according to company data released Wednesday.

More than 57% of the country’s 9.3 million citizens have received two doses of the Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.49% vaccine developed with German partner BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -3.76% /zigman2/quotes/222361179/delayed XE:22UA -3.48% , and more than 80% of the population over 40 is vaccinated.

Read on: Israel to offer third COVID-19 booster shot to citizens over 60

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