All adults in Israel should have a fourth Covid vaccine, according to Israeli health officials. In comparison to three doses, fourth doses doubled protection against symptomatic Covid-19 and boosted protection against severe illness by three to five times, according to studies.
Other nations, including as the United Kingdom, the United States, and Chile, have approved fourth doses for immunocompromised persons like HIV patients and transplant recipients, but have resisted initiating a large-scale second booster program.
Israel’s vaccine advisory committee “recommends that those aged 18 and over be able to be vaccinated with a fourth vaccine dose”, confirmed the Israeli health
ministry in a statement. The rollout is subject to approval by health
ministry director-general Nachman Ash.
People would become eligible five months after their third dose or after recovering from the disease, the ministry added. In the past fortnight, about
900,000 Israelis have tested positive for Covid-19.
Israel became the first country to extend fourth doses to over-60s, healthcare workers and people with weakened immune systems in late December.
About 600,000 Israelis have already received a second booster and about half of the population have received a third shot. A senior Israeli government scientist told
the Financial Times the recommendation was based on enabling “individual decision-making” rather than “pushing” fourth doses on younger groups.
“We are making the people the gatekeepers over the decision,” he said.He added it was a “quite unusual” recommendation aimed at balancing the “accumulating evidence” of the protection offered against severe disease against “the multiple open-ended questions” about safety risks and the likelihood of waning immunity.
However, Prof Eyal Leshem, an infectious diseases specialist at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, which has studied the effectiveness of boosters, said “the added value for a fourth dose is . . . not expected to be substantial”, adding that they should be targeted at vulnerable groups.
“From a global perspective, use of multiple boosters in low-risk populations during a short period should be weighed against the global shortage of Covid vaccines.”