Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the first person in Israel to be vaccinated, has been urgently pushing for a third booster shot after recently discovering his level of coronavirus antibodies had dropped, the Walla news site reported Wednesday.
Netanyahu was vaccinated in December last year while serving as premier. Recently he conducted a serological test, which found his antibody count significantly dropped some eight months after being vaccinated, the site reported.
Netanyahu has recently been urging Israel’s new government to begin administrating the third vaccine dose to the elderly, despite many experts saying such a move is unnecessary at this time.
The report, which did not cite any sources, said Netanyahu’s advocacy was directly spurred by his test.
Netanyahu’s office did not confirm the report but said: “The antibody levels against the coronavirus have decreased in millions of Israelis since the second shot. That’s the reason the former prime minister ordered and paid for millions of extra doses for a third shot.”
“That’s why he has been calling for more than a month to bring these shots to Israel,” his office added. “The fact that the current government has not done so until now is a failure that will cost many lives.”
The Walla report also noted that Netanyahu, 71, has recently been photographed double masking in the Knesset.
— וואלה! (@WallaNews) July 28, 2021
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel could soon approve a third COVID booster shot.
“We’re on top of it, believe me,” said Bennett. “For at least a month [we’ve been working on] things that need to come to fruition. We’re very close. The less we talk about it, the greater chance it’ll happen. I’m on it.”
The prime minister did not specify which populations would receive the booster, but recent media reports have indicated government discussions have focused on administering it to the elderly.
Israel began administering a third booster shot two weeks ago to those with severely compromised immune systems, including transplant recipients and those with blood cancers — setting a world precedent.
Recent data released by the Health Ministry shows that those who were first to receive their two doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine are more likely now to be infected, as the vaccines appear to lose protection potency over time.
Some analysts have warned that the figures on vaccine effectiveness are prone to major inaccuracies because of a range of factors, including questions over whether there is accurate data on infection levels among the non-vaccinated, which is vital for such stats.
British data indicates the Israeli studies may be overstating the case.