A woman in her 50s was hospitalized in serious condition after likely suffering an allergic reaction from a COVID-19 booster shot, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
She was hospitalized at Ziv Medical Center in the northern city of Safed on Friday, when Israel began offering third doses of coronavirus vaccines to anyone over 50, becoming the first country to do so.
The woman, 52, remains in serious yet stable condition, according to the ministry, adding that she was being examined for “other possibilities that led to her medical condition.”
The Health Ministry said it was also looking into the details of the case.
“An allergic reaction to vaccines is a known and rare phenomenon. Whoever develops an allergic reaction after receiving any vaccine dose is advised not to get vaccinated before consulting their doctor,” the ministry said in a statement.
It appeared to be the first case in Israel of someone having a major allergic reaction after receiving a third vaccine dose, which 813,216 people have received as of Friday.
Army Radio reported that she also developed an allergic reaction after receiving her second shot and required hospitalization. It was unclear if she had consulted with a doctor before getting the third dose.
Along with those over 50, Israel on Friday also began offering booster shots to medical staff and those with underlying illness, as well as prisoners and wardens.
Last month, Israel became the first country in the world to begin administering booster shots to those over 60. It is also giving third vaccine shots to those with weakened immune systems, which United States regulators also gave authorization to on Thursday.
“I really hope that as many people as possible my age, 50 and older, will be vaccinated with the third dose,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, 56, said while getting his booster shot.
“Now is a critical time. This is the most effective tool we have to stop the Delta variant. We are in a very big outbreak and this is a step that everybody can take,” he added.
The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September, in order to address inequalities in global dose distribution.
But Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that Israel is doing the world a “great service” by administering the third doses and sharing their results.
It has been prevoiusly reported that Bennett had put significant pressure on health officials, cabinet members and even members of the advisory panel to authorize booster shots for people over the age of 40.
Additionally, on Thursday, Bennett spoke with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and urged him to speed up regulatory approval of the pharmaceutical giant’s COVID-19 vaccine for those under the age of 12.
The decision to open up booster shots to those aged over 50 in Israel came as Health Ministry data showed no signs of the virus outbreak slowing.
According to the latest figures on Friday, 453 people are in serious condition from COVID.
Health Ministry data showed that among unvaccinated Israelis aged 60 and over, there are 118.8 people per 100,000 in serious condition. Among the vaccinated, the figure is 18.5 per 100,000, and the partially vaccinated figure was 40.5.
There were 6,083 people diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, and another 3,659 as of Friday afternoon.
There were 44,730 active coronavirus cases in Israel, with 786 hospitalized patients in total. The death toll stands at 6,611.
Agencies contributed to this report.