An Israeli trial, the first conducted of this type in the world, experts say that a fourth dose of vaccine is not good enough to protect against Omicron. While experts at the Sheba Medical Center say that the fourth dose does raise antibody level, there are “still a lot of infections” even among those who have been quadruple vaccinated.
“The vaccine, which was very effective against the previous strains, is less effective against the Omicron strain,” Professor Gili Regev-Yochay said, according to the Times of Israel, Regev-Yochay has been working on the study that was launched nearly one month ago.
Regev-Yochay said that “We see an increase in antibodies, higher than after the third dose. However, we see any infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections.
While she recommends giving the fourth dose of vaccine particularly to high-risk individuals, she said that “the bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta [variants], for Omicron it’s not good enough.”
The results of the study are only preliminary, but they were made public in the sake of public interest as people make their decisions about getting fourth doses. The data has not altered the Israeli government’s push to get citizens vaccinated with a fourth dose, and it was reported in Hebrew media that Sheba Medical Center’s statement calling for the continuation of the vaccination drive was made under pressure from the Health Ministry.
Sheba’s statement read that it recommended “continuing the vaccination drive for risk groups at this time, even thought the vaccine doesn’t provide optimal protection against getting infected with the variant.”
Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Prime Minister, said that the vaccination initiative for four doses would move ahead as planned, and as of early this week, more than 500,000 Israeli’s have undertaken the fourth shot of vaccine, particularly those over 60.
The trial was substantially smaller than normal drug trials, with only 150 medical staff studied after being inoculated for a fourth time. This is much smaller than normal trials, which involved many thousands of people and a longer term than just one month. Yet, this is the only trial done so far with individuals who have received four doses.