Israel began administering a fourth dose of the vaccine to vulnerable people on Friday, December 31, in hopes of mitigating the effects of a new wave of contamination linked to the spread of the Omicron variant. The green light from the health authorities had been given the day before, and it concerns immunocompromised people. For example, doses have already been administered to patients who have undergone heart transplants.
In addition, Sheba Hospital, located on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, began a clinical trial on Monday by administering a fourth dose of the vaccine to its caregivers. The administration of a fourth dose will assess the possible rise in antibodies and the appearance of side effects, and will tell whether or not it reduces the risk of infection, added Gili Regev-Yochay, director. of the infectious diseases department. “We had already obtained good results with the third dose which, moreover, had not caused side effects except for slight localized pain”, said infectious disease specialist Galia Rahav. “We can’t wait to see the response to this fourth dose.”
Shortly after the vaccination of people with compromised immunity began, the Director of the Department of Health, Nachman Ash, authorized the immediate administration of a fourth dose for residents of nursing homes and patients in geriatric departments. “This decision was taken following fears of an increase in the number of contaminations in these institutions which endangers the health of these people”, specified the Ministry of Health
The number of cases declared each day is around a hundred. But within ten days, that number could increase to 15,000 or even 20,000, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In a country of 9.2 million people, where more than half of the population has already received a booster dose, severe cases are currently concentrated in unvaccinated people, according to data released by authorities.