Israel tests fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine, awaits green light from ministry

A hospital Israel administered the fourth dose of the vaccine COVID-19 to a test group on Monday, as the country considers passing the measure for vulnerable populations in a bid to overcome an increase in infections driven by the Omicron variant.

The Sheba Medical Center study in Ramat Gan, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, “It will focus on the efficacy of the vaccine in antibody production and safety, to determine if a fourth vaccine is needed overall,” a spokesperson said. The 150 subjects are all medical personnel.

A panel of experts from the Ministry of Health recommended last week that Israel become the first country to offer a fourth dose of vaccine, also known as a second booster dose, to those over 60 years old, those with immune systems. engaged and medical workers.

The proposal was welcomed by the Israeli government, which has struggled against stagnant participation in vaccines.

Israeli authorities seek to apply a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people in risk groups.

But the fourth shot awaits the final approval of the director general of the ministry, Nachman Ash, a doctor whose decision, officials say, will be made without government intervention.

Given concerns about the lack of test data, Ash may modify the eligibility criteria by raising the age threshold to 70 and removing medical workers from the list, Israeli media said.

The Health Ministry has neither confirmed nor denied that, nor has it said when Ash’s decision should be made.

COVID-19 vaccination in Israel

About 63% of the population of 9.4 million Israel has received the first two doses of vaccine, according to ministry data. Almost 45% have also received a third dose or booster shot. About 2,000 confirmed or suspected Omicron cases have been recorded.

Israel was the fastest country to implement the initial vaccines a year ago and became one of the first to observe that immunity waned over time, responding with a widespread booster program.

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