The vaccine pass grants access to nonessential venues such as restaurants and bars. To continue accessing these places, one is required to get a booster shot five months after the second dose to reset the clock and extend the eligibility of the pass for another six months.
This news comes as Israel rolls out boosters to its population. The health minister already granted access to the third shot to those over the age of 12 who have received their second shots at least five months prior.
Israeli Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said on Sunday that the third dose is already available to everyone.
The pass applies to anyone over the age of three. Children who aren’t eligible for the vaccine can still prove their COVID-19 status with a free antigenic test provided by the government.
Vaccines remain highly protective against severe disease and death, but their efficacy against infection wanes over time, prompting Israel to roll out boosters to help curb its population’s rising cases.
Israel has been administering COVID-19 booster shots for over a month: the third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines first became available to seniors over the age of 80 in late July, and the country has been gradually extending the age eligibility since.
There had been about 1.9 million Israelis who have received their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of September 19.
WHO holds moratorium on boosters
The United States is also set to roll out its own booster shots to Americans who received their shots over eight months ago. Other countries like the U.K., Germany and France also announced that they will roll out their third shots to more vulnerable populations beginning September.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) issues a moratorium on booster shots until the end of the year, saying that vaccine boosters for the “fit and healthy” are a luxury item. (Related: Even the WHO says booster shots are unnecessary, but Biden’s White House prefers to listen to Big Pharma: BOOSTER covid shots coming to the USA.)
Rich countries with large supplies of the vaccines should refrain from offering booster shots, and offer them to poorer countries instead.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that he was “appalled” after hearing comments from a top association of pharmaceutical manufacturers that vaccine supplies are high enough to allow for both booster shots for people in rich countries and first jobs in poorer nations facing shortages.
“I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers. Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low-income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people.”
Tedros also previously called for a moratorium on boosters through the end of September, but some wealthy countries have already considered plans on offering third shots of vaccines to their vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, or those who re immuno-compromised.
While Tedros acknowledged that third doses may be necessary for at-risk groups, he noted that the WHO does not want to see widespread use of boosters for fully vaccinated, healthy people.
In the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the nation has already donated and shared about 140 million doses with over 90 countries — more than the donations of all other countries combined. She also said that the president and his administration have a responsibility to do everything they can to protect their own people.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said that about 1.5 bullion COVID-19 vaccine doses are now being produced every month, with a total of 12 billion set to be produced by the end of the year.
Get more COVID-19 related updates at Pandemic.news.