Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Israeli study finds that fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose increases antibodies fivefold, says prime minister, citing preliminary findings.

A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine increases antibodies five times a week after the shot is fired, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, citing preliminary findings from an Israeli study.

“A week after the fourth dose, we know with a greater degree of certainty that the fourth dose is safe,” said Bennett at Sheba Medical Center, who gave a second test shot in a trial among his staff amid ” a nationwide increase in Omicron variant infections.

“The second piece of news: we know that a week after administering a fourth dose, we see a fivefold increase in the number of antibodies in the vaccinated person,” he told reporters.

“This most likely means a significant increase in infection and hospitalization and [severe] symptoms, ”Bennett said in English.

Sheba Hospital spokesman Steve Walz said the study used Pfizer stimuli, adding that a separate trial of fourth vaccine shots for 150 people using the Moderna vaccine would begin this week.

Israel has played a leading role in studying the effects of Covid-19 vaccines, as the fastest country to deploy two-dose vaccinations a year ago to a wide population and one of the first to give third shots as boosters.

It now administers fourth doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people over 60, healthcare professionals and immunosuppressed patients.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the previous day, compared to a daily average of less than 4,000 the previous week.

More than four million people out of Israel’s population of 9.4 million received three injections of coronavirus vaccine.

The country officially recorded more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 infection, including 8,247 deaths.

Israel came under scrutiny for not initially providing vaccines to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and was encouraged to do more to Palestinians secure access to vaccinations as it vaccinated its own citizens at a worldwide rate.

There are more than 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Law groups have said that Israel, as an occupying power, is obliged to provide vaccines to the Palestinians. Israel has denied such an obligation, citing interim peace agreements reached with the Palestinians in the 1990s.

Inequalities in access to vaccinations took place around the world as most vaccines went to rich countries. As those countries made progress with their own outbreaks, they recently began promising supplies for poorer countries that were lagging behind for months.

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