This country just made booster shots compulsory for tourists

Tourists who want to enter Israel will need to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot or vaccination within the last six months.

The rules will also apply internally to anyone who wants to enter tourist attractions, restaurants and cafes using Israel’s “green pass” vaccination passport.

Israel’s Ministry of Health announced the new rules on Tuesday with a few limited exceptions.

People who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered within six months can obtain a green pass. And children under 12, who can not be vaccinated, can access the green pass with proof of a negative test.

Anyone without proof of vaccination can not enter public indoor spaces.

Why are they doing it?

Israel was one of the early leaders in COVID-19 vaccination, inoculating almost 60 per cent of its citizens aged 12 and over by June.

But cases have been rising as the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off.

Israel COVID booster shots
Israel has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. Credit: Canva

Daily COVID-19 cases hit 10,000 a day in September but have now fallen to around 4000 a day as the rate of booster shots increased to 37 per cent of the population.

Of the 588 critical cases currently in hospital in Israel, around 70 per cent were double vaccinated.

Israel flag
Israel was an early adopter of COVID-19 vaccines. Credit: Canva

Israel opened up to tourists earlier this year, but hit a pause in August as cases increased. In recent weeks the nation has started to welcome small groups of tourists from countries deemed “green”, “yellow” or “orange” risk.

Anyone travelling to Israel must show proof they have had a COVID-19 vaccine within six months or a booster shot. They must also provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

The reaction

The news sparked protests as more than 2 million Israelis were stripped of their green pass this week. Convoys of cars clogged the roads leading to commuter chaos.

The protestors claimed the green pass was a form of forced vaccination.

Israel’s health advisors will meet again this week to discuss existing restrictions and guidelines.

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