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Fourth COVID-19 vaccine 'not good enough' against Omicron: Israeli trial

"The bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta, for Omicron it's not good enough."

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Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio
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A recent preliminary study out of Israel claims that a fourth COVID-19 shot only provided partial protection against the Omicron variant.

While more data is needed, the findings as of now point to an extra booster only seeming worthwhile to age groups far beyond 60, or other high-risk groups.

According to The Times of Israel, a study considered "the first of its kind in the world" concluded that not even a fourth coronavirus vaccine is enough to fully protect against the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

"We see an increase in antibodies, higher than after the third dose. However, we see many infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections," lead researcher Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay said of the findings from the Sheba Medical Center study.

It was back in December 2021 that 154 medical staff at the Sheba facility were injected with a fourth shot for the trial program. While the sample size is significantly smaller than usual trials, these initial findings were presented as soon as possible to the public given the urgency on problem-solving for Omicron.

When it comes to the general availability of a fourth dose, Israel first offered it to the "over-60s and immunocompromised" last month amid a surge in cases, and over half a million have received it, according to Bloomberg.

Both Pfizer and Moderna CEOs were publicly open to the idea of the necessity of a fourth COVID-19 shot during interviews in recent weeks. But in Pfizer's case, they also left an Omicron-specific vaccine option on the table.

Over in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the country has enough vaccine supplies for a four-dose deployment if it was deemed necessary.

However earlier this month, government advisers in the United Kingdom recommended against a fourth COVID-19 "booster" jab because of how the third shot sufficiently cut down hospitalization rates.

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