COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccineiStock

Israeli health officials are poised to begin deliberations this week on the possibility of offering a second booster shot for the coronavirus vaccine, making Israel the first country to consider permitting a fourth shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

The Health Ministry’s vaccine advisory committee is set to meet Tuesday to mull plans to expand the vaccine campaign to include a fourth shot.

According to a report by Israel Hayom Monday morning, the plan under consideration would only offer a second booster shot of the COVID vaccine to people at high-risk of the coronavirus due to their compromised immune system.

In addition, the vaccine advisory committee is also set to discuss potentially expanding the recently-launched mass-vaccination campaign for children ages five to eleven.

Specifically, the committee will deliberate on plans to offer the vaccine to children in that age group who are confirmed as having recovered from the virus or who tested positive for COVID antibodies in a serological test.

The committee will also consider whether to offer the second and third jabs to children who suffered neurological conditions shortly after the first shot.

The deliberations come after four additional cases of the Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, were reported in Israel. A total of 11 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in the Jewish state.

There is a high suspicion of another 24 cases of the Omicron variant, and testing of those cases is still underway.

The four newly identified cases were vaccinated with a booster shot, with two of them returning from France, one from the US and the fourth person returning from South Africa.