In the face of a fourth wave of Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Israel is now offering a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 to fully vaccinated people over 50.

The first country in the world to make such a decision, Israel also was the first to make the Pfizer vaccination available to residents 16 and over, in December 2020. It was the first to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds; the first to offer a booster shot to people who are immunocompromised; and the first to offer the third shot to those 60 and over, on July 29.

As of Friday morning, more than a quarter million vaccinated Israelis had chosen to receive the booster shot, and many thousands more had made appointments to get them.

Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, 56, received his third Covid-19 vaccine shot at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, August 13, 2021. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also is encouraging the million or so Israelis who did not yet receive their initial vaccine, but were eligible to do so, to get the two doses ASAP.

Bennett announced on Saturday night (August 14) that the Health Ministry decided to make the inoculations available 24/7 by opening nighttime inoculations in 10 main cities.

“This is about saving lives,” said Bennett, as 5,868 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Friday and the number of serious cases rose to nearly 500.

“Night inoculations allow people who do not want to miss work to get vaccinated without an appointment at unconventional hours. We will continue to make every effort to vaccinate everyone who is willing and able,” Bennett said.