In the world’s first trial, Israeli researchers are hoping that a fourth vaccine dose could defeat the Omicron variant
Israel began administering the fourth Covid-19 dose to triple-vaccinated patients. Already, the Jewish state plans to offer an additional booster shot for elderly and vulnerable people.
150 medical workers at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv began receiving a fourth dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Monday. These workers have all received three doses – an initial two plus a booster – already, and will be monitored for six months as researchers assess their antibody levels and monitor for potential side effects, CBS News reported.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to show here … that this fourth booster really provides protection against the Omicron,”Jacob Lavee was a professor at the prestigious institution, according to the Associated Press.
According to some, this trial marks the first ever test for a fourth booster dose in any country. This comes at a moment when Omicron is fast becoming the predominant coronavirus strain. Although it causes mild-to-modere symptoms for most people it infects it is highly transmissible. Studies have also shown that vaccines are significantly less effective than those from earlier versions.
Israel became the first nation to immunise a large number of citizens. It also was among the first to show that vaccines lose effectiveness over time. Israel has also been a leader in booster shots administration, with around 45% receiving a third dose from Pfizer.
With the trial underway, Israel’s Health Ministry is weighing a decision to offer a fourth vaccine dose to people over the age of 60, those with compromised immune systems, and healthcare workers. Premier Naftali Bennett, who is being held in isolation following a positive family member’s Covid-19 test, supports the idea.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the green light in October for adults with compromised immune systems to receive a fourth shot of either Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccines.