Nachman Ash: the decision on booster vaccines should be left to professional

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Nachman Ash says ministry has direct relationship with pharma companies, and booster decision should be left to experts; serious cases rise as cabinet set to meet on restrictions.

The director-general of the Health Ministry said on Thursday that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s help was not required after the opposition leader spoke with the heads of Pfizer and Moderna about booster shots of the vaccine, reportedly behind the back of his successor, Naftali Bennett.

“We do not need this assistance,” Nachman Ash told the Kan public broadcaster. “I respect [Netanyahu’s] opinion, but the decision is up to the professionals. We have a direct relationship with Pfizer and Moderna.”

Netanyahu’s Likud party leaked on Wednesday that he had spoken several times in recent days with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel as part of his push to have a third coronavirus vaccine dose administered to Israelis.

For weeks, Netanyahu has insisted that third doses are necessary immediately, but some analysts have questioned whether his position is more rooted in a desire to differentiate himself from the new government’s policies on the pandemic.

Pfizer has been seeking FDA authorization for a third shot, though the US regulator and Israeli health officials have said there is no evidence boosters are needed at this time. Israel is currently offering a third dose only to the immunocompromised.

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