Israel Adds Booster Requirement to COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
October 7, 2021Middle East
Israel Adds Booster Requirement to COVID-19 Vaccine Passport
A health worker prepares a dose of a vaccine in the Israeli town of Rishon Lezion, on Aug. 13, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel is moving towards tightening the requirements of its COVID-19 “green pass” that is required to enter restaurants, clubs, gyms, hotels, among many other indoor settings by adding a booster shot.

The new vaccine passport was announced by officials on Oct. 3 and will become available to people who have received the third dose of a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine or recently recovered from the disease.

The passport that proves vaccination against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus is dubbed a “green pass” in Israel. The CCP virus causes the disease COVID-19.

Israel’s new system will replace its previous one that required just two shots to become eligible for a green pass. Under the new rules, Israeli citizens will have to prove they had a booster shot after their previous two doses expired after six months.

People who decide not to get a booster shot are still able to enter venues with a negative PCR or antigenic test, according to a press release by Israel’s Ministry of Health.

The new policy means that about two million people risk losing their vaccination passports in the days to come, prompting scores of protesters to take to Israeli streets in demonstrations around the country against the government’s new system.

NTD Photo
A convoy of cars slow down the traffic as they staged a demonstration against the Health Ministry’s “green pass” restrictions, on Ayalon highway, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 3, 2021. (Oded Balilty/AP Photo)

“We are totally against any forced vaccinations, or any forced medications, and we are totally against doing anything to our children and grandchildren that we don’t agree with,” Sarah Felt, who protested over the weekend along the main highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, told The Associated Press.

About 37 percent of Israel’s 9.4 million population has received a booster shot. The number of patients hospitalized with the CCP virus and who are in serious condition has been dropping in recent days.

Since Oct. 5, store owners or event organizers in the country also had to start scanning a customer’s digital barcode before allowing entry. There will be some exemptions, such as museums and libraries.

“The new green label will enable the management of an ongoing life routine, when the economy is open and fully operational, including the education system,” the country’s health ministry said.

Israel is the first country to make booster shots a requirement before being allowed access to a vaccination passport.

The country started giving booster shots to risk groups in July and by the end of August expanded its campaign to include anyone above the age of 12, five months or more after a second dose.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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