COVID-19 Questions and Answers
Third Dose of the Pfizer Vaccine
It has been found that the level of protection decreases in adults, the more time passes from the second dose. The third vaccine dose is a booster that takes the immune response back to its initial level, thereby increasing the vaccine effectiveness.
Sometimes there is no direct correlation between the antibody level found in a serologic test and the level of protection. In light of the fact that the vaccine is safe and the side effects are rare, the booster is beneficial, because it enhances the immune response.
A growing number of countries across the world are already planning to administer a third dose. The safety level of the vaccine is similar to the safety level of other vaccines. Boosters are standard in vaccination practice. It is safe to assume that the vaccine enhances the effectiveness of the immune response and a higher level of protection is expected with the increase in the number of antibodies. In light of the rising infection rate, a vaccine is the most effective way to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The real test is to protect the at-risk groups. Evidence of effectiveness will be found in the weeks to come. The benefit of a booster is known from other vaccines.
Those vaccinated with the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine shall also receive a third dose from Pfizer.
Side effects after vaccination have been found in a small percentage of older adults 60 years of age and older. In general, the side effects reported soon after vaccination are consistent with the side effects reported for the first two doses or for other vaccines and usually include local pain in the injection area, headache, fever, chills, muscle pain.
The disease is still not fully understood. Careful monitoring of the situation is needed to decide better what should be done to cope with the disease. With influenza, for example, we know that vaccines should be administered every year.
Eligibility will be considered according to medical indications when relevant.
The third dose can be administered only if five months have passed since the administration of the second dose.
You can get vaccinated at your HMO by appointment.
Residents of nursing facilities covered by the "Magen Avot VeImahot" insurance plan will be vaccinated by the facilities.
Effective 1.10.2021, the validity of the Green Pass for those vaccinated with the third dose shall be updated and extended for up to six months from the date of receiving the third dose of the vaccine. The validity of the Pass for those vaccinated with two doses or who have recovered from COVID-19 shall be extended for up to six months from the date of receiving the second dose or recovery, respectively.
Additionally, individuals vaccinated with the third dose enjoy relaxed measures regarding mandatory isolation upon returning from abroad and if exposed to a confirmed case, as specified in the Ministry of Health's guidance.
You can have a look at the confirmed cases curve and the rising infection rate. These data are indicative of decreased protection over time from the time of vaccination. Infection is prevalent among those who were first to be vaccinated at the beginning of the vaccine operation and among older adults with pre-existing conditions.
Restrictions are being regularly discussed by professional think tanks as well as the coronavirus cabinet, by the Knesset and the government.
Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
Among those who have been infected with coronavirus, including young people, many complications and long-term side effects, including heart problems and neurological disorders have been discovered. Teenagers can become infected and infect others and we want to eradicate the disease. Therefore, anyone who is eligible for vaccination should go and get vaccinated, first and foremost to protect themselves and those around them and to allow the return to normalcy.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit Israel and caused high infection rates among the population. Over the last few months, due to the entry of variants of concern from abroad, the virus once again has lead to high infection rates, despite extensive vaccination which is effective in preventing severe illness but not as efficient in preventing infection (among those who have not received the third dose). More and more variants of concern (mutations) of the virus are discovered around the world, and some of them find their way to Israel.
6 million Israelis have already been vaccinated.
Despite the relatively high infection rates in Israel due to the Delta variant, the vaccine's effectiveness is evident nonetheless: In studies recently conducted by Clalit and Maccabi HMOs, it has been proven that unvaccinated individuals are five times as likely to end up hospitalized in severe condition compared to vaccinated individuals. Moreover, vaccinated individuals who received the third dose are far less likely to get infected.
Therefore, the all-embracing recommendation is that anyone eligible for vaccination, namely everyone 12 years of age and older who do not have a medical condition that prevents them from being vaccinated, should get vaccinated. It is recommended that those who received two vaccine doses, and 5 months have passed since the date of the second vaccination, get the third dose.
Top Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials approved the vaccine after it was tested most carefully by external committees that have decisively concluded that the vaccine is safe. Based on what?
- Over 2.5 billion people have been vaccinated around the world.
- The vaccine, which is injected into the muscle, leaves the body after a short time.
The vaccine was tested not only among tens of thousands during clinical trials but on many more millions around the world. After 2.5 billion vaccinations around the world, we already know quite a bit about the vaccine's side effects. There are some mild and passing side effects, most of them topical (pain in the injection site, sometimes shivers, fever, fatigue or weakness and so forth). In any event, most side effects pass rather quickly after the vaccination. It should be noted that the technology, on which the coronavirus vaccine is based, has existed for over a decade in healthcare.
Thanks to its great efficacy and its safety, the vaccine has also been approved for recovered coronavirus patients and even for teenagers over 12.
We are well aware that there are many who spread false information about this matter. Did you encounter a post spreading false news? You can react by posting the link to the pages below:
The vaccine for coronavirus is divided into two doses, administered at least 21 days apart from each other. A third dose is administered five months after the second dose. The vaccine is directly injected into the arm muscle and it disappears from the body shortly thereafter.
Once vaccinated, you are eligible for a coronavirus certificate and a Green Pass.
After the vaccines are administered, the vaccinated individual may be given a vaccination certificate.
While the vaccine does provide an excellent, near-perfect, solution for coronavirus, it is still important to follow the rules, due to the slight chance of infection with the virus despite vaccination. Therefore, the following rules of conduct for preventing infection and the spread of the virus remain intact:
- Avoiding or minimizing unnecessary closeness between people, including restrictions on unnecessary gatherings and maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters between people.
- Washing hands frequently with water and soap.
- Wearing masks in indoor settings and in gatherings
Currently only individuals with known severe allergies to any of the vaccine's ingredients (rare) and children younger than 12 years (except by exceptional approval) are forbidden from vaccinating.
No. It is not possible to become sick from the vaccine because the vaccine does not contain coronavirus or any part thereof.
Just like with any other vaccine, it is important to contact your doctor if you develop any side effects around the time of vaccination.
You can report adverse events (potential side effects) by submitting an online form:
On 21.1.2021, the Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a position paper, according to which, there were only few cases of severe allergic reactions and not a single death has been reported.
mRNA breaks down after a few hours. The vaccine cannot interact our DNA since the mRNA cannot enter the nucleus of the cell, where our genetic material (DNA) is kept.
Have you encountered any publication stating otherwise? You can reply by posting a link to our article which debunks fake news on this matter.
Usually these are anonymous publications unclaimed by any official authority. It is important to know that these publications are for the most part false, and some provide half-truths (such as exaggerated descriptions of common side effects) in order to spread panic. Some of these publications originate with sects that oppose any form of medication or vaccination. Some of these sects also have missionary agencies. You may refer all of your doubts or concerns about any publication to the Ministry of Health's call center, the hotlines of the HMOs or your trusted general practitioner. It should be noted that renowned Israeli thinkers from all walks of life and from all religious groups have carefully examined the data, have been briefed by medical experts, have asked them questions and have expressed their support of the vaccine.
Coronavirus – Fake news website debunks commonly raised claims against the vaccine.
The Benefits of Vaccination
Vaccination confers upon the vaccinated individuals quite a few benefits:
- Protecting loved ones
- Green Pass eligibility
Returning from abroad:
Holders of a vaccination or recovery certificate who return from abroad are required to stay in isolation until their PCR test result is negative.
Those who return from countries with a travel ban in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidance are required to complete the full isolation period.
Exposure to a confirmed case:
The Ministry of Health advises vaccinated and recovered individuals who have been exposed to a confirmed person to take a PCR test as soon as possible.
Please note – the guidance is being updated regularly: Guidance for leaving Israel and arriving in Israel, mandatory isolation requirements
Pregnancy, Childbirth and Children
Pregnant women are permitted and even encouraged to get vaccinated. According to experts from the Ministry of Health who have examined test results of mothers and newborns who have been vaccinated during pregnancy, there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine may cause any harm to the fetus at any stage of the pregnancy. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health stresses that there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine contains any biological mechanism which can cause any harm to the pregnancy or to the fetus. Therefore, there is no hindrance to vaccination at all stages of the pregnancy.
A pregnant woman can get vaccinated with a COVID vaccine during all phases of pregnancy.
Detailed information from the National Council of Health and the Israeli Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Certainly. It is permitted and even recommended. According to experts from the Ministry of Health, the vaccine is not transmitted by breastfeeding from the nursing mother to her baby. For the sake of the nursing mother's health and the health of the other members of her household – it is important to be vaccinated.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved giving the COVID-19 vaccine to teenagers 12-15 years of age after Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceutical companies completed their clinical tests abroad.
Vaccine Technology (mRNA)
Vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) are a method for protecting against infectious diseases. Traditional vaccines induce an immune reaction by inserting a dead or weakened agent into the body. Vaccines based on messenger RNA teach the body's cells how to synthesize a protein – or a part thereof – that induces an immune reaction in the body. During this reaction, antibodies are created, which protect us if we are exposed to the virus. Shortly after (hours to days), the body breaks down the mRNA.
The vaccine give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein". The spike protein is found on the surface of the coronavirus. When this vaccine is injected into a muscle, the instructions are transmitted into cells that start to make the protein piece.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. The immune system recognizes that this protein does not belong to the body and begins making antibodies, just like what happens in a natural infection against COVID-19. At the end of the process, the body has learnt how to protect against future infection. The benefit of the vaccine is that those vaccinated are protected against COVID-19 and its complications.
Individuals with no status may be vaccinated, provided that they can provide proof that they have been in Israel for over six months. Palestinians who work in Israel and in the settlements with a valid work permit have been vaccinated since 7.3.2021.
How to get a vaccination certificate for holders of a Palestinian Authority I.D.