Israel plans to give its vulnerable population a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A government panel of experts in Israel recommended a fourth dose of the vaccine to anyone over the age of 60, as well as health care workers who might face the disease more often, according to BBC News.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the news, saying the fourth shot would help Israel survive the omicron variant surge, which has caused a rise in the country’s infection rate, BBC News reports.

  • “This is wonderful news that will assist us in getting through the Omicron wave that is engulfing the world,” Bennett said.
  • “The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and we are continuing to pioneer with the fourth dose as well,” the prime minister added.

Indeed, Israel has been seen as a guiding post for what happens in the United States. The country was among the most vaccinated in the world and it was the first country to deliver vaccine booster shots to its people.

The U.S. might be on the brink of a fourth shot, too. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration who serves on Pfizer’s board, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” earlier in December that people with compromised immune systems might be getting four COVID-19 vaccine shots.

  • And in fact, we know that some people who are immunocompromised organ transplant patients, for example, doctors are prescribing multiple doses for those patients because we know they don’t get a good response to vaccines generally,” Gottlieb said.

Around the same time, Pfizer Chairman Albert Bourla said on CNBC that a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot would likely be necessary to combat the omicron variant.

  • “I think we will need the fourth dose,” he said on CNBC. “I was projecting that that will be in 12 months after the third dose. With omicron,” he said, “we may need it faster.”