As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Israel , the country has expanded its COVID-19 vaccine campaign to give third shots to anyone over the age of 40.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett got his booster shot on national TV Friday and is pushing hard for all eligible Israelis to vaccinate.
He said that if Israelis go out and get vaccinated with a third shot, the country will be able to avoid a fourth closure.
That is especially important to many Israelis as there are several major Jewish holidays in September — including the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Israel leads the world in the number of third vaccine doses given out.
Bennett said that the rest of the world is following Israel and that the U.S. recently approved booster shots as well. He said that he expects that the third shot will eventually be made available to the entire adult population.
A new Israeli study found that the effectiveness of the third shot is close to 90 percent.
Some 80 percent of Israelis eligible for COVID-19 vaccines have been inoculated and 1.2 million Israelis over the age of 50 have already received a third shot.
However, cases in Israel continue to climb. Israel currently has 63,000 active COVID cases, after just 200 cases a few weeks ago, and most are of the delta variant.
There are about 7,000 new cases reported daily and about 600 people hospitalized in serious condition. When Israel last had numbers like these in January, the country went into a full lockdown.
This time, Israel has tightened its green pass regulations, meaning entry into public facilities like swimming pools and hotels are dependent on either a vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test.
The government is subsidizing the tests from age 3 to 12 and is encouraging everyone older than 12 to get vaccinated.