Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedHezki Baruch

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told Galei Tzahal the government viewed another lockdown as "the very last resort."

"If we can vaccinate children and teenagers who've het to receive the first vaccine, and if individuals in their 50s and 60s get the booster dose, we can hopefully avoid lockdown, which constitutes a last resort from our standpoint," said Shaked.

"Many of the experts I spoke to support lowering the age threshold for the third vaccine to 40 to reduce infection numbers - hopefully this decision comes this week," commented the minister on the possibility of an expanded campaign for third dose vaccines.

In a separate development, Prof. Ash told Israel Hayom he was in favor of immediate approval of a third vaccine for individuals aged 40 and above, adding that, "we will monitor the efficacy and safety data in the coming week, to see if such a decision should be implemented."

Clalit Health Services head Prof. Zion Hagai, another supporter of the move, added that "postponing the (third) vaccine (dose) for people aged 40 to 50 can cost lives. Such a shot will also increase protection against the Delta variant among the population, while reducing the rate of serious morbidity. There is no other way to reduce the infection rate, and there is already data available on a large number of individuals who received a third dose without experiencing side effects - even less so than ones who received the second shot."

Israel's Health Ministry on Saturday evening reported 5,868 new coronavirus cases throughout Friday, bringing the number of active cases nationwide to 48,401.

A total of 130,440 tests were performed over that time period, with the percentage of positive results coming in at 4.93%.

Earlier this week, Israel opened the third dose of the vaccine to residents aged 50-60. Since the start of the campaign to vaccinate the elderly, 860,137 Israelis have received their third "booster" dose.

One allergic reaction has been reported following receipt of the third dose which is being investigated by the Health Ministry.

At the same time, 5,412,255 Israelis have received their second dose of the vaccine, including 27% of youths aged 12-15 and 68.3% of those between ages 16 and 19.