Israel has revoked all Green Passes issued to date, with the new guidelines limiting Covid-19 immunity status only to those who naturally recovered or received their latest vaccine shot within the past six months.
At least 1.5 million Israelis lost their Green Passes as the new rules kicked in on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post, while Channel 12 news estimated the number to be close to two million. Those eligible have been issued a replacement certificate.
The new guidelines stipulate that a person retains their immunity status for just six months after receiving their second or third dose of the vaccine. Those with natural immunity also get a pass, but must receive a vaccine shot six months after recovery – or lose the privilege.
Those neither naturally immune nor vaccinated, including children under 12 who are not yet eligible for the jab, can get a limited seven-day pass after a negative PCR test. The results of a rapid antigen test will only be valid for 24 hours.
The Green Pass is a digital certificate that allows Israelis to visit bars, restaurants, swimming pools and other venues, as well as all indoor or outdoor events of more than 100 people. Kids under the age of three are exempt.
Israeli officials, however, have recently been caught admitting that in many situations the pass system is not “medically justified,” but exists to pressure more citizens into getting vaccinated. Israel has indeed largely led the world in vaccinations and boosters. Out of a population of some 9.2 million, over 5.6 million Israelis were vaccinated with two doses and nearly 3.5 million had already received their third jab as of Friday.
The debate over booster shots has been picking up steam globally, as a growing body of evidence indicates that vaccine-induced immunity wanes over time, with some research suggesting the Delta variant mutation may explain the decline in protection.
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the White House’s call to authorize booster shots for the general adult population, only recommending them for the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went a step further, expanding the booster advisory to include “those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings.”
But Israeli authorities have doubled down, not only rolling out boosters for everyone aged 12 and older, but also hinting that further boosters every six months could become a part of “life from now on.”