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Israel to begin vaccinating recovered COVID patients

Health Ministry gives HMOs authorization to inoculate anyone who recovered from coronavirus more than 90 days ago

An Israeli man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a mobile Magen David Adom vaccination station at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on February 22, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
An Israeli man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a mobile Magen David Adom vaccination station at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on February 22, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry on Monday informed healthcare providers that they can begin to vaccinate Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19.

The ministry’s recommendation calls for vaccinating patients with a single dose three months after recovery. Only recovered patients over 16 can receive a shot, in keeping with the ministry’s guidelines not to vaccinate anyone younger than that.

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) can begin administering vaccines to the recovered on Tuesday, a Health Ministry statement said.

Over 323,000 Israelis who were infected with COVID-19 recovered at least 90 days ago, according to Health Ministry figures. The ministry’s website does not provide a breakdown on how many of those are under 16.

A Magen David Adom paramedic holds up a vile of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, before inoculating Palestinians in a mobile clinic on February 26, 2021, at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Monday’s announcement follows the recommendation last month by the Health Ministry’s Priority Committee to vaccinate the recovered.

There have been nearly 780,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel since the start of the pandemic and 5,760 people have died. As of Monday, over 4.7 million Israelis — half the country’s population — have received the first dose of the vaccine; close to 3.4 million have received both doses.

New national data showed that just one in 1,500 fully vaccinated Israelis has tested positive for COVID-19, providing the strongest sign yet that widespread inoculation can significantly reduce serious illness from the coronavirus and prevent hospitalization.

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