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Israel tightened its COVID vaccine pass to require a booster shot to get into most indoor venues

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/4/2021 mguenot@businessinsider.com (Marianne Guenot)
People eat at a restaurant in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021, after Israel reopened restaurants, bars and cafes to vaccinated "green pass" holders. Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images © Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images People eat at a restaurant in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021, after Israel reopened restaurants, bars and cafes to vaccinated "green pass" holders. Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
  • Israel plans to change its vaccine passports soon to require booster shots.
  • Its "green pass" is due to become invalid if a booster shot is not taken within six months of the second dose.
  • Isreal is the first country to add boosters to its vaccination certificates.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Israel is changing its vaccine passport rules to require booster shots before letting people access most indoor venues.

It is the first country to require a booster for a vaccine certification, per the Associated Press.

Under new rules, the access allowed by having two doses of vaccine will expire after six months. Then, people will need to prove they had a booster shot.

The country is due to reset its "green pass," a certificate of COVID-19 immunity that grants access to non-essential indoor venues like shops, restaurants, cultural events, gyms, in the next couple of days, Haaretz reported.

Those over the age of 12 without a booster shot will see their green pass privileges revoked once six months has passed since their last shot.

Those who do not receive a booster can instead access venues with a negative PCR or antigenic test or proof that they had COVID-19 and recovered in the past six months, per a Health Ministry press release.

As of Monday, over 3.5 million of Israel's 9.3 million citizens had received a third dose of vaccine, per Health Ministry data. Over 64% have received at least two doses of vaccine, per Our World in Data.

Percentage of vaccination received by dose and age group in Israel Israel Ministry of Health/Insider © Israel Ministry of Health/Insider Percentage of vaccination received by dose and age group in Israel Israel Ministry of Health/Insider

The country's health ministry was set to issue the updated passes on Sunday but because of a technical glitch, the previous passes are due to remain in effect for the next few days, per Haaretz.

Israelis held protests around the country against the move on Sunday, per the Associated Press.

Attendees show off their "green passes" as they arrive at a concert in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2021. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images © Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images Attendees show off their "green passes" as they arrive at a concert in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2021. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israel started rolling out its booster program in late July, gradually expanding eligibility, which as of Monday covered all those aged 12 and over.

Early studies on the boosters suggested that older Israeli adults were less likely to develop severe COVID-19 after getting the booster. Experts have warned that real-world studies carry limitations, Insider's Andrew Dunn reported.

Some scientists have argued that it was too soon to roll out boosters for the general population. A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel decided to recommend booster shots to those over 65 and people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, but not the whole population.

Last month, Israel's vaccine czar warned that the country should prepare for the rollout of a fourth dose.

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