Thursday. 25.04.2024
PANDEMIC

Israeli experts recommend fourth vaccine dose for everyone over 18

The statement said protection against infection was two times higher in those vaccinated four times than in those vaccinated three times

FILED - 08 March 2021, Israel, Meitar: A Palestinian cross-border worker receives his dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre opened at the checkpoint of Meitar, a town of Israel's Southern District. An Israeli government panel of experts on Tuesday recommended expanding eligibility for an extra vaccine booster to everyone aged 18 and up. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa.
A Palestinian cross-border worker receives his dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre opened at the checkpoint of Meitar, a town of Israel's Southern District. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa.

An Israeli government panel of experts on Tuesday recommended expanding eligibility for an extra vaccine booster to everyone aged 18 and up.

The recommendation for a fourth dose applies to any adult so long as at least five months have passed, either since receiving an initial booster shot or recovery from the disease.

"The decision was made in light of positive results showing three to five times greater protection against severe disease after the fourth dose of vaccination," the expert body said in a statement.

It said protection against infection was two times higher in those vaccinated four times than in those vaccinated three times.

The panel's recommendation still has to be approved by Nachman Ash, the director general of the Health Ministry, before Israel's booster campaign is expanded.

Israel has already rolled out fourth vaccine doses to people aged 69 and older and other at-risk groups. So far, more than 600,000 people have been given four shots in the country.

Scepticism

There is no broad agreement in Israel about the need for an extra booster shot.

Just last week, the lead researcher on a study looking into the effectiveness of a fourth jab expressed scepticism about the benefits.

Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the infectious disease unit at Tel Aviv's Sheba Medical Center, said the initial results of her study showed a fourth shot did not provide much additional protection.

Israeli experts recommend fourth vaccine dose for everyone over 18