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Israeli study shows 4th vaccine shot ‘not good enough’ against Omicron

A heart transplant patients receives a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, on December 31, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
A heart transplant patients receives a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, on December 31, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A study conducted at Sheba Medical Center indicates a fourth shot of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine provides insufficient protection against the Omicron variant of the virus.

The data appears to raise serious questions regarding Israel’s current strategy of boosting all people over the age of 60.

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, a top infectious disease expert at the hospital, says the results of the research are only preliminary, but acknowledges there is high public interest in the matter.

“We see an increase in antibodies, higher than after the third dose,” she says. “However, we see many infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections.”

Data from the study was not immediately available.

Regev-Yochay says “the bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta [variants], for Omicron it’s not good enough.”

She still says it is probably a good idea to give a fourth shot to those at higher risk, but that perhaps the current recommendations should be changed to only include older groups.

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