The findings come from an Israeli study and could provide support for a fourth vaccine shot to be rolled out in the UK. They were announced by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at Sheba Medical Center – which is currently giving second booster shots to its staff. The trial is being conducted amid a nationwide surge in Omicron variant infections.
Mr Bennett said: “A week into the fourth dose, we know to a higher degree of certainty that the fourth dose is safe.
“We know that a week after administration of a fourth dose, we see a five-fold increase in the number of antibodies in the vaccinated person.
“This most likely means a significant increase against infection and hospitalisation and (severe) symptoms.”
Israel has played a leading role during the pandemic in studying the effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
It is now administering fourth doses to people over 60, health workers and immunocompromised patients.
Launched in December, the Sheba trial administered a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 150 medical personnel.
A separate group is set to receive Moderna’s vaccine for their fourth dose this week.
It comes after the head of Britain’s vaccine body warned against the fourth booster COVID-19 jab.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said giving boosters to people every six months was “not sustainable”.
He said governments “need to target the vulnerable” in the future, rather than giving boosters to all over-12s.
Sir Andrew said there was no point in trying to stop all infections, and “at some point, society has to open up”.
He cautioned against blindly following Israel and Germany, which have given the green light to a second set of boosters to all over-60s.
He said: “The future must be focusing on the vulnerable and making boosters or treatments available to them to protect them.
“We know that people have strong antibodies for a few months after their third vaccination, but more data are needed to assess whether, when and how often those who are vulnerable will need additional doses.”
He also suggested “misinformation” about the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine – espoused by European leaders including Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, and Angela Merkel, former leader of Germany – was “highly likely” to have cost lives in Africa.
His comments come at a time when the world continues to battle the Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization has said more people worldwide should be vaccinated with first doses before others receive boosters.
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