One-third of Israel’s seniors — about 420,000 of those age 60 and older — have received a coronavirus booster shot, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday, adding that the figure could reach 500,000 by the end of the day.
Bennett announced the progress of the vaccine campaign, which began 10 days ago and uses the Pfizer vaccine, at a Cabinet meeting.
Israel became a vaccination leader early in the pandemic, with about 5.4 million of its population of 9.3 million people fully vaccinated. Still, with hospitalizations on the rise, almost exclusively with the delta variant, the government offered the third shot and reinstated a mask mandate indoors.
With the world a year and a half into the pandemic, the United States, India and Brazil have suffered the most cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the virus by far, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The U.S. has reported more than 35.7 million cases and more than 616,000 deaths. India has reported nearly 32 million cases and nearly 428,000 deaths. Brazil has reported 20.1 million cases and more than 563,000 deaths.
France, Russia and the United Kingdom fill the next three spots with more than 6 million cases each and 112,000 to 162,000 deaths.
India, which faced a devastating second wave of the virus earlier this year, said Sunday that it had recorded more than 39,000 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24-hour period. Brazil reported more than 43,000 new cases on Sunday. The U.S. reported just more than 44,000 new cases, all figures according to Johns Hopkins.
Neither the U.S. nor any European country has yet authorized booster shots of the vaccine. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a moratorium on discussions of booster shots until more of the global population is vaccinated.
In India, just more than 8% of its population has been fully vaccinated. In Brazil, that figure stands at 21%, and the U.S. sits at almost 51%, all according to Johns Hopkins.
Coronavirus cases are rising in the United States, which confirmed an average of 100,000 new infections every day in the last week. Infections have been rising, due to the more contagious delta variant.
Frances Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that the country was failing in its pandemic response.
"We should not really have ever got to the place we are," he said.
More than 230,000 people marched Saturday in cities across France to protest measures meant to counter the spread of the coronavirus, including vaccines for health care workers and a health pass needed for many public indoor activities.
This fourth week of protests was also the largest, and included marches in Paris, Nice, Montpellier and Lyon, where police used tear gas on protesters who threw objects at police. The measures have brought together France’s hard-left anarchists and hard-right militants, according to Reuters.
Health care workers have until September 15 to get their shots or face suspension.
"I'd rather not be paid than be forced to have the vaccine," hospital psychiatrist Diane Hekking told Reuters as she protested in Paris.
The health pass shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19. One will be needed starting Monday to enter cafes and restaurants, travel on intercity trains and access nonemergency care at hospitals. The pass was already needed for cinemas, concert halls, sports arenas and theme parks that hold more than 50 people, according to The Associated Press.
France isn’t the only European country to turn to health passes.
Italy's Green Pass took effect Friday. Denmark pioneered vaccine passes with little resistance. In Austria, the pass is needed to enter restaurants, theaters, hotels, sports facilities and hairdressers, the AP said.
In Poland, though, thousands marched Saturday in protest as the government debated whether to place restrictions on unvaccinated people, Reuters reported.
In the past month, Poland has reported nearly 3,300 new cases of coronavirus and 167 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Johns Hopkins reported early Sunday more than 202.2 million global COVID-19 infections. The university said over 4.4 billion vaccine doses had been administered.
Some information in this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.