Israel Tests Fourth Dose Of The Covid-19 Vaccine, Awaits Ministry Approval

israle covid vaccine fourth dose

The fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine was administered on Monday by an Israeli hospital to a test group, as the country considers approving it for vulnerable populations, to stem an outbreak of infections caused by the Omicron variant of the virus.

The 150 subjects in the study are all medical staff at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, outside Tel Aviv. “We will evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness in producing antibodies, as well as its safety,” a spokeswoman said.

According to a Health Ministry expert panel last week, Israel would become the first country to offer a fourth vaccine dose – also called a second booster – to those over 60, to those with compromised immune systems, and to medical personnel.

Israeli officials welcomed the proposal, as vaccine turnout has plateaued.

Nevertheless, the fourth shot must be approved by the ministry’s director-general, Nachman Ash, a medical doctor whose decision will not require government intervention.

Considering the lack of test data, Ash may raise the eligibility standard to 70 years old and drop medical workers from the list, Israeli media reported.

Health Ministry officials have not confirmed or denied that, nor have they indicated when Ash’s decision is due.

The Ministry of Health reports that 63% of Israel’s 9.4 million people have received the first two vaccination doses. Almost half of them have received a third dose, or booster shot, as well. Many more suspected or confirmed cases of Omicron have been logged.

A year ago, Israel was the fastest to deploy initial vaccines, and one of the first to notice that immunity waned over time, responding by launching a widespread booster program.

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