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Israel to offer AstraZeneca vaccines starting Thursday

Doses will be available to those 18 and over who are unable to get mRNA-based vaccines like the ones made by Pfizer and Moderna

Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine are seen on the counter at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination center at a pharmacy in the suburb of Cabramatta in Sydney on August 17, 2021. (Saeed KHAN / AFP)
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine are seen on the counter at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination center at a pharmacy in the suburb of Cabramatta in Sydney on August 17, 2021. (Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Ten months after Israel began its coronavirus vaccination campaign, the Health Ministry announced Monday that some Israelis will for the first time be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, starting from Thursday.

The vast majority of those vaccinated in Israel have received the Pfizer vaccine, while a smaller amount of Moderna vaccines have also been administered in recent months.

Up until now, AstraZeneca’s vaccine has not been available in Israel at all.

Starting Thursday, the vaccine produced by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company will be available to those unable to receive a vaccine based on the mRNA technology behind both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Only Israelis 18 and up with a referral from a doctor will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, the statement added.

According to the Health Ministry, more than 6.2 million Israelis have received at least one vaccine dose, close to 5.7 million have gotten two, and more than 3.8 million have been administered a booster shot.

A woman receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Jerusalem, September 30, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

But vaccination rates have bottomed out over the past week, with around 20,000 people a day receiving the shot — compared to close to 90,000 two weeks ago.

This past Thursday, 16,923 Israelis received a booster dose, while almost double that figure — 33,744 — got one a week earlier.

Overall, almost 67% of Israelis have received at least one dose, while just 41% have gotten all three shots.

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