After being confronted with the fact that widespread vaccination isn't enough to stop COVID (just look at Israel's case numbers), public health authorities in the tiny Mediterranean country have decided that the best solution is to double-down on the jabs by defying the WHO and demanding all citizens must get a third jab. Talk about moving the goalposts...
As Israel’s government expands availability of Pfizer-produced COVID booster shots to all inoculated residents age 12 and older, it has also decreed that all those who don't opt for the third jab will lose their green pass privileges come October, according to a report in RT.
Effective from October 1, the “green pass” required for entry into some gatherings and public places will expire not only six months after the holder receives a second dose, but also six months after their third jab.
Israel expanded access to the booster jabs for the fourth time on Sunday when it opened them up to any patient over the age of 12. By the time Oct. 1 rolls around, hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Israelis (in a country of 9MM) will need to have gotten their booster shots, or risk losing access to gyms,
Critics have slammed the green pass program for effectively leading an individual to be "de-personed" (a term from George Orwell's 1984) if they don’t get shots every six months. This will inevitably lead to a "perpetual cycle of jabs," something the WHO has warned could delay vaccinations for the rest of the planet, especially in the emerging world.
For those who aren't familiar with the pass (which has been cited as inspiration for a similar system that may be rolled out in the UK), across Israel, a 'green pass' is required to access many places others may not, including gyms, restaurants, theaters and cinemas, sports arenas, hotels and cultural events. Additionally, face masks remain mandatory in most of these settings.
What's more, those who refuse the third jab will be required to quarantine for a week after returning to Israel from abroad. And even those who receive the third shot will need to quarantine after returning from any country not deemed at low or moderate risk of COVID infection. Booster recipients will be allowed to self-isolate for 24 hours or take a test to prove that they’re not infected with the virus.
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett has been a leading proponent of booster shots, saying earlier this month that elderly people who don’t get a third dose are in “mortal danger.”
He has also tried to spin the booster jabs in a positive light, telling Israelis that receiving the booster jabs is a "privilege no other country has" (although Russia has rolled out booster jabs for its Sputnik V vaccine, and the US is moving to allow booster jabs as well).
According to a study published late last week, when it comes to the delta variant, those who have survived natural infection will exhibit much higher levels of immunity than patients who have received two, or even three, Pfizer or Moderna jabs.
And while efficacy estimates for the premier mRNA vaccines continue to fall, chances of a deadly or seriously harmful side effect will likely continue to climb.