Initial preliminary study findings on the research of the effectiveness of fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses being conducted at Sheba Hospital in Israel being headed by professor Dr Gili Regev, the director of the Infection Prevention Unit in Sheba has indicated unimpressive results.
Despite only about 5 times an increase of antibodies after the fourth dose, the results were not as impressive as after the third Booster dose and furthermore antibody titer waning was already started to be observed.
Professor Regev also publicly commented to Israeli media that she does not recommend starting a fourth dose for the entire population. https://www.ynet.co.il/health/article/skio11rf2k
Professor Regev told Israeli media on Wednesday, “We see a certain increase in antibodies, but the increase is not very impressive. Shortly after the fourth dose, you were back to the same antibody level as shortly after the third.”
Prof. Gili Regev: “We know that after a week there is a certain increase and the peak of the increase will only occur after a week, in any case between two and four weeks. I would be careful to say that I am disappointed, but we were hoping in an increase like after the booster “
She also warned, “We need more information before giving such a recommendation for fourth doses to be administered to the general population.”
After looking at the study findings, she told media, “But I’m really not sure if they should be given to everyone now.”
Launched on Dec. 27, the Sheba trial administered a fourth dose of the Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE) vaccine to 150 medical personnel whose level of antibodies had dropped greatly since they received their third doses four to five months ago.
A separate group is set to receive Moderna’s vaccine for their fourth dose this week, Sheba said.
The mild side effects some participants have so far reported have not differed from those reported following a third dose. They include pain, fever and headaches, the hospital said.
Since the heavily mutated Omicron variant was first detected in November, WHO data shows it has spread quickly and emerged in at least 128 countries. Case numbers have surged to all-time records, but hospitalisation and death rates are largely lower than at other phases in the pandemic.
In Israel, daily infections have increased by more than 10 times over the past month. Severe illness has also climbed but at a far slower pace, according to Health Ministry data.
Around 60% of the country’s 9.4 million population are fully vaccinated.
The study findings would be published in about a weeks’ time according to Professor Regev.
At present despite being one of the most fully vaccinated countries in the world, Israel is again witnessing a new surge in COVID-19 infections coupled with an increase in hospitalizations.