Israel begins giving fourth vaccine doses to vulnerable adults while
Israel announced on Wednesday it would start making fourth Covid-19 vaccine shots available to all vulnerable people aged over 18, continuing its drive to beat successive virus waves with top-up jabs.
It then began offering booster shots last summer, and has since approved fourth shots for elderly and vulnerable populations.
Israel has been slammed for failing to vaccinate Palestinians living in territories it illegally occupies, which rights have groups have argued is a legal requirement, despite giving jabs to West Bank settlers.
Only a small minority of Palestinians from the occupied territories, whose immunisation figures are far lower than Israel's, have been jabbed by Tel Aviv.
On Wednesday, health ministry director Nachman Ash announced a new stage in the campaign, saying that all immunocompromised people and frontline workers over 18 would be eligible for a fourth shot.
He cited a study showing that a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine causes a three to fivefold increase in the number of antibodies in a vaccinated person, compared to someone who has received three doses.
More than 600,000 Israelis, out of a total population of 9.4 million, have received a fourth dose of vaccine, according to the health ministry's figures.
Both Israel and Palestine have seen daily new infection rates rocket in recent days as the Omicron variant sweeps the globe.
So far, Israel has recorded 8,502 deaths due to Covid-19, while Palestine has reported 5,061.