Israel recommends FOURTH Covid jab to all adults which health officials say can triple protection against severe illness
- Health ministry’s director must approve advisory committee’s recommendation
- They said fourth jab provides 3-5 times level of protection against serious illness
- A separate study showed fourth dose isn’t enough to prevent Omicron infection
- Israel is already offering a second booster to everyone over 60 and at high risk
Health officials in Israel have recommended a fourth Covid jab to all adults, citing research showing that it can triple protection against severe illness.
The advisory committee said a fourth dose provides three to five times the level of protection against serious disease and can double the protection against infection compared to three doses.
The health ministry’s director must approve the recommendation, which came as another smaller study showed a fourth vaccination isn’t enough to stop people getting infected with Omicron.
Israel is already offering a second booster to everyone over 60 and those at high risk as it struggles to contain a wave of infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.
It began offering third doses to the general population last summer.
Health officials in Israel said a fourth dose provides three to five times the level of protection against serious disease. Pictured: a volunteer poses with a vial of the Pfizer jab in Zion, Israel, on January 11
The recommendation came as a separate smaller study showed a fourth vaccination isn’t enough to stop people getting infected with Omicron. Pictured: a teenage girl receives the Covid vaccine in Zion, Israel, on January 11
Figures from Israel’s Health Ministry show there are currently some 580,000 active patients, with just 845 listed as seriously ill.
Nearly half the population has received a third dose and more than 600,000 have gotten a fourth.
Israel has reported 8,487 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Israel has been on the leading edge of vaccine distribution since they were approved by health authorities in late 2020.
It has gathered extensive data that is informing other countries’ responses to the pandemic.
The recommendation follows the preliminary results of a separate trial of more than 270 medical staff in the country finding the fourth shot only raised antibodies ‘a little’ compared to those who were triple-vaccinated.
Participants given four doses were only ‘a bit less’ likely to test positive for the mutant strain than those who had received three.
The findings were true for both Pfizer and Moderna.
Researchers from the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, who ran the trial, said those who became infected had very mild symptoms or none at all.
Author Dr Gili Regev-Yochay told a press conference: ‘These are very preliminary results. This is before any publication.
Staff look after a a patient at the ICU’s Covid-19 department at Ziv Hospital in Zefat, Israel, on January 16 this year
‘But we’re giving it out since we understand the urgency of the public to get any information possible about the fourth dose.’
Earlier this month, a UK Government adviser today became the latest senior figure to warn against repeated mass vaccinations, recommending a targeted approach like for flu.
And European Union regulators also claimed boosting too frequently could actually weaken the immune system.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on vaccine makers to make variant-proof jabs to avoid countries having to revaccinate every few months.
Israel was the first country in the world to roll out boosters last year and became one of the only nations in the world to start dishing out fourth jabs last month to combat Omicron.
Studies have since shown that three jabs are holding up well against serious illness, offering about 88 per cent protection from hospitalisation, even if Omicron can slip past the immune system and cause an infection more easily.