JERUSALEM, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israel launched on Sunday a campaign to give the third booster doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to people aged over 60 who received the second shot at least five months ago.
Israel's four state-mandated health service funds reported a high attendance rate on the first day of the rollout. Some 38,000 people were vaccinated on the first day and additional 219,000 people made an appointment to receive the jab in the next few days, the funds said.
The CEOs of the health funds told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz that an increasing demand was reported across the country, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office.
Bennett urged people who are eligible to receive the booster shots to "get vaccinated forthwith," saying the goal is to vaccinate all people aged above 60 by the end of August, according to the statement.
The military has reinforced the health funds with staff and assisted with their preparations, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Israel kicked off the campaign, although health authorities in the United States and the European Union have not yet approved the third booster dose.
The country reported 1,974 new cases, bringing the tally of infections in Israel to 875,801, according to the Health Ministry on Sunday.
The total recoveries from the virus in Israel climbed to 850,950, after 1,869 newly recovered cases were added, while the number of active cases rose to 18,374, the highest since March 20.
The number of people who have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Israel reached nearly 5.79 million, or 62.1 percent of its total population, while nearly 5.38 million people have been vaccinated with the second dose.