Coronavirus ward (illustrative)
Coronavirus ward (illustrative)David Cohen/Flash90

Israel's Health Ministry on Friday reported a significant rise in the number of Israelis who have received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine: As of Friday morning, 3,404,619 people had received their booster dose.

The Ministry also reported that 4,313 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Thursday, and 115,148 tests were conducted. At the same time, the positivity rate was reported at 3.81%.

There has also been a drop in the number of seriously ill patients, though it is not clear if that is due to their demise or recovery. As of Friday morning, 607 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in serious condition, with 264 who are in critical condition and 214 of whom are intubated.

Since the start of the pandemic, 7,761 people have died of coronavirus.

On Friday, Professor Jonathan Halevy, Co-Director General of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, told Kan Bet that the COVID-19 booster shots were safe and highly effective.

"At Shaare Zedek, we have eight patients hooked up to ECMO machines - all of them unvaccinated," he said. "Most of the patients in serious condition did not get vaccinated, and the conclusion is clear."

"The vast majority of new cases have not been vaccinated. There is no doubt that the booster shot confers exceptional protection against serious illness.

"Those seriously ill with coronavirus have extremely long hospital stays, and remain connected to ECMO machines for weeks," he added.