Fourth vaccination not sufficient against omicron

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A man receives the fourth dose of the corona vaccine at Shiba Hospital in Ramat Gan. © Gideon Markowicz/JINI/XinHua/dpa

In Israel, people over the age of 60 and medical staff can now also be vaccinated for the fourth time. However, according to a study, even this does not offer complete protection from Omikron.

Tel Aviv – According to an Israeli study, a fourth corona vaccination does not provide sufficient protection against the omicron variant. Infections are also observed in people who have been vaccinated four times, said Professor Gili Regev from the Shiba Hospital near Tel Aviv on Monday.

Two weeks after a fourth dose of the Biontech/Pfizer preparation, a “nice increase” in antibodies can be observed. Their number is even slightly higher than after the third vaccination. “But for Omikron this nice value is not enough.” Regev emphasized that these are interim results of the study, so she did not want to give any more precise figures.

Around 150 participants in the study had received a fourth dose of the vaccine from Biontech-Pfizer two weeks ago. A week ago, 120 more participants received a fourth dose of Moderna after three doses of Biontech/Pfizer. It is the world’s first attempt at a fourth vaccination with combined vaccines, Regev said. The results of both groups after one week are very similar. “We don’t see a significant difference.”

More than 530,000 people have had the fourth vaccination

“The decision (in Israel) to give immunocompromised people the fourth dose might confer a small benefit,” Regev said. “But probably not enough to give it to the entire population.” Israel is currently also allowing people over the age of 60 and medical staff to be vaccinated for the fourth time. In view of the preliminary study results, Regev spoke of a “dilemma” as to whether healthy people over the age of 60 should be given the fourth dose. “If someone is at personal risk, then it would be better to vaccinate now, if not, then maybe it’s better to wait.”

Only around 62 percent of the 9.4 million Israelis are still considered fully vaccinated. These are doubly vaccinated up to six months after the second vaccination and people with a booster vaccination. 30 percent of the population has not been vaccinated at all, and the validity of the vaccination has expired for eight percent. According to the Ministry of Health, almost 4.4 million Israelis have already received their third vaccination dose, and more than 537,000 have already received their fourth. dpa

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