Fourth shot of Covid vaccine is not enough to prevent ‘lots of infections’ from Omicron, study finds

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The fourth dose of the Covid vaccine is not effective on the Omicron variant and provides only limited defence, a preliminary study in Israel has found.  

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center began administering the fourth vaccine to more than 270 medical staff last month during a trial program. 

According to Mail Online, experts studied the defence of the Pfizer booster in 154 people after two weeks and the Moderna booster in 120 people, who had previously been vaccinated three times with the Pfizer vaccine after one week.

The clinical trial found that both groups showed increases in antibodies ‘slightly higher’ than following the third vaccine last year. But it said the increased antibodies did not prevent the spread of Omicron.

‘Despite increased antibody levels, the fourth vaccine only offers a partial defense against the virus,’ said Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the hospital’s infection disease unit. ‘The vaccines, which were more effective against previous variants, offer less protection versus omicron.’

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She added: “The vaccine, which was very effective against the previous strains, is less effective against the Omicron strain. 

‘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.

‘The bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta [variants], for Omicron it’s not good enough.’

Dr. Nahman Ash, director of Israel’s Health Ministry, said the research did not mean the fourth vaccine effort was a mistake. 

‘It returns the level of antibodies to what it was at the beginning of the third booster. That has great importance, especially among the older population,’ he told Channel 13 TV.

But he said the research would be taken into account as authorities debate whether to expand the additional booster campaign to the broader population.

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