Israel is to offer its most clinically vulnerable citizens a third coronavirus jab following growing evidence that the first two vaccines do not provide sufficient protection.
The Health Ministry announced healthcare providers were authorised to give the boosters as the Delta variant of the virus takes hold in the country.
Mask wearing indoors have become compulsory again and the country is likely to remain closed to tourists until September as infections continue to rise.
The Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, the largest hospital in the country, immediately invited dozens of its heart transplant patients for boosters on Monday afternoon, the Times of Israel reported.
A third vaccine for the general population is not being planned at this stage.
Most Israeli adults have received two jabs and authorities are rolling out a vaccination programme for the under-18s.
Parents have been advised for several weeks to inoculate their children aged between 12 and 18.
A panel of medical experts is also preparing to recommend vaccines for children under 12 who suffer from a serious pre-existing condition or live in a household where someone is at risk of serious illness from coronavirus.
But Haaretz reported authorities were forced to deny that the rise in Delta variant cases was in fact a surge, after it emerged the number of negative COVID-19 tests at Ben Gurion Airport had been mistakenly counted twice.
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