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Committee recommends COVID shot be added to Israel's annual vaccine schedule

Israel finds no connection between shots and Omicron, but possibly in reducing the efficacy of Botox

Israelis receives their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Ministry of Health vaccination center in Jerusalem, Dec. 23, 2021. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel's vaccine committee has recommended that the COVID-19 shot be added to the annual fall vaccine schedule along with the flu shot, Kan 11 news reported yesterday.

The recommendation, which will be considered by the Ministry of Health, comes a month after coronavirus czar Salman Zarka told reporters that Israel is “going back to normal” in its handling of the disease. Primary care physicians will now take care of COVID cases and the national center for testing will be closed.

“For every other disease, people get treated by their health funds and the health funds know how to handle it,” Zarka said at the time. 

“The direction is one of normalization,” he stressed.

Currently, Israel is administering the Omicron-specific vaccine developed by Pfizer. According to the Ministry of Health, 392,848 people have taken the Omicron shot as of Jan. 25. 

Zarka said this week that a link between the Omicron shot and strokes has not been detected in Israel, despite a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that a safety monitoring system flagged a possible connection.

Israeli health officials went back over the data after the FDA announcement, but found no connection, Zarka said. Last week, Pfizer stated it was aware of some reports of ischemic strokes in people aged 65 and up following vaccination.

But an Israeli study did find a link between the mRNA COVID shot and a reduction in the efficacy of Botox. The study, which was published last fall, showed that participants who received Botox shots after a COVID shot had to return sooner that usual to get their face filled. On average, the treatment went from every 118 days to just 96 day after the jab.

The study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, concluded that Botox injections “might be less effective” but said that more research was needed.

“This is an interesting study and a good first step in trying to figure this out, because many dermatologists have been talking about it,” board-certified dermatologist and NYU professor Shari Marchbein told Allure. “Those of us who do a high level of cosmetic procedures have seen this firsthand… If your Botox doesn’t work as well, this could be why.” 

At the height of the pandemic, Israel was the first country to roll out a national vaccination campaign and led the world with the highest vaccination rates for several months. Out of a population of 9.2 million, 6.7 million Israelis took the first of the two doses; 6.1 took the second and 4.5 took a third shot. Nearly 850,000 went for a fourth injection.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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