(JERUSALEM) — Israel has begun trials of a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine in what is believed to be the first study of its kind.
It began in Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv with 150 staff who received an August booster and then received the fourth dose of Pfizer/BioNTech. Tests on the staff who were given an additional dose showed that they had low levels of antibody.
This trial was conducted as Israeli officials consider distributing a second batch of booster shots as part of a plan to combat rising infection rates with the new micron variant.
Learn more Vaccine Scientists Are TIME’s 2021 Heroes of the Year
Prof. Jacob Lavee, former director of the heart transplant unit at Sheba, said “hopefully, we’ll be able to show here… that this fourth booster really provides protection against the omicron, which is highly needed.”
Israel launched a leading vaccination campaign in the first half of this year. Just over 4.2 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Israel has seen at most 8,242 coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.