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Israel to offer Pfizer booster shots to people over 60

The move comes as the delta variant spreads throughout the country.

Israel will begin offering a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to people over 60, Israel's Kan public radio and Channel 13 TV said on Thursday.

The campaign, a bid to fend off the coronavirus delta variant, will effectively turn Israel into a testing ground for the booster before approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Pfizer said on Wednesday it believes people need a third dose to keep protection against the coronavirus high. The company says it could apply for U.S. emergency authorization for booster shots as early as August.

A woman receives her third dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on July 14, 2021 in Ramat Gan, Israel.Amir Levy / Getty Images

Kan and Channel 13 said the director-general of Israel's health ministry informed the heads of health maintenance organizations that have been administering the two-dose Pfizer vaccine that they could provide, as of Sunday, booster shots for people over the age of 60.

The ministry said earlier that it would make an official announcement about a booster campaign later in the day.

Since the delta variant began spreading in Israel in June, the health ministry has twice reported a drop in the vaccine's effectiveness against infection and a slight decrease in its protection against severe disease.

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