Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)
Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative) iStock

The Health Ministry is planning to issue a recommendation for a third dose of coronavirus vaccine for people with underlying illnesses or weaknesses that render them more vulnerable to serious illness, Channel 12 reports.

The first to receive a third dose will be those with heart issues and transplant patients, according to the report, followed later by those with other health issues.

The initiative to give vulnerable populations a third dose of coronavirus vaccine is being spearheaded by Professor Galia Rahav of Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer. In her opinion, people with underlying health issues do not produce the requisite amount of antibodies in response to the two standard vaccine doses, necessitating a third dose to increase their level of protection.

Professor Rahav has conducted a number of studies on this issue which seem to confirm her views, and has already contacted the Pfizer pharmaceutical company (which manufactured the vaccines being used in Israel) with her findings. She also approached the Health Ministry with the proposal to give a third vaccine dose, and received a positive response, pending the final decision of the Ministry’s vaccination committee.

Just last week, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called on Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) to make the necessary preparations for a third vaccine dose for the entire population, explaining that no one knows how long the immunity provided by the vaccines will last. Apparently, the previous government has long been aware of the possibility that a third dose would be needed – in April, Covid “Czar” Prof. Nachman Ash suggested a “very, very high likelihood” of the need for a third dose, because “the chance that this vaccine is good for many years is apparently not high.”