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MANILA, Dec 28 (Mabuhay) — All Filipinos living in Israel have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and have free access to booster shots, Israel’s envoy to Manila said on Monday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Ambassador Ilan Fluss said boosters remain “freely available” to Filipinos, noting its importance especially to the elderly.

“All Filipinos — caregivers, diplomats, and other Filipinos in Israel have been fully vaccinated and there is no obstacle in receiving their vaccination,” Fluss said.

To date, he said about 6.5 million out of Israel’s total 9.3 million population have received their first dose — with 6 million having received their second dose, and 4.2 million having received a booster shot.

“The younger generation is not rushing to get vaccinated, especially not for the booster, so we have less than 50 percent who got the booster until now,” Fluss said.

He said the Israeli government is currently considering the possibility of offering a “fourth dose” of the Covid-19 vaccine to its population.

“The fourth booster is really being seriously considered, but as I said, there’s not enough medical evidence on what will happen if we give the fourth booster. So, it is still being analyzed, but it seems to me that this might be the direction,” Fluss said.

He said the country has about 1,118 cases confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant, out of which 723 came from abroad.

“We have another 861 suspicious cases where we believe it might be Omicron but we’re still doing the sequencing to identify if it is really the Omicron. And for that reason, we have also the protocols in Israel are being a little bit more strict,” Fluss said.

This, he said, is one of the reasons why Israel remains closed to foreigners, as well as introducing stricter protocols barring the travel of Israelis to about 70 countries in its “red” list. (MNS)

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