Researchers from Israel reported promising preliminary findings from a study on fourth COVID-19 vaccine shots, which suggest the second booster produces a fivefold increase in antibody levels.
Antibody findings follow recent safety data
A few weeks ago, a team from Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv launched a study in 154 hospital workers to examine safety and antibody response. All had received their first booster before Aug 20 and had antibody readings below 700, according to Haaretz, a newspaper based in Tel Aviv.
Israel pioneered the use of booster shots and is among the first to recommend them for high-risk groups. Two days ago, the country announced that it would begin offering fourth doses to those over 60, along with health workers.
Today, the country's health ministry Director-General, Nachman Ash, MD, received his fourth dose. "We're talking about a very, very contagious variant, as we can see. Infection rates are rising and soaring with each passing day," he said in a statement, adding that the best response is vaccination.
Researchers had recently released preliminary findings on safety, noting that the side effect profile was similar to that of third doses. Recent data from Israel indicated significant waning in protection as soon as 3 months after the third COVID-19 vaccine dose.
A number of global health experts, including top officials at the World Health Organization (WHO), have warned that a focus on booster doses in developed nations hampers the rollout of primary vaccine series to lower-income countries.
More global headlines
- The Chinese city of Yuzhou, home to 1.2 million in Henan province, is on lockdown after three asymptomatic cases were detected, according to The Guardian. Meanwhile, the city of Xian in Shaanxi province is in its 12th lockdown day, and cases are still being reported, including 95 yesterday, according to the country's National Health Commission.
- In India, where cases have quadrupled over the past week, officials in Delhi announced a lockdown for the next two weekends to help curb cases. Businesses are also being urged to allow people to work from home on weekdays. The sprawling metropolitan area has a population of more than 18 million people.
- Australia's daily COVID-19 total reached a new record high today, with hospitalizations rising to their highest levels of the pandemic and the country's testing capacity hitting speed bumps, according to Reuters.
- The global total today climbed to 294,389,659 cases, along with 5,454,555 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.