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Israeli hospital to give fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot in trial

Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv said its trial would shed light on the efficacy of a fourth dose and help decision-makers set health policy in Israel and abroad.

December 27, 2021 / 08:13 AM IST
India recorded a milestone daily COVID-19 vaccinations of over 1 crore jabs in a day on August 27 and CoWIN - the country's delivery tech platform is designed to absorb even higher numbers, RS Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority told Moneycontrol. (Representative image)

India recorded a milestone daily COVID-19 vaccinations of over 1 crore jabs in a day on August 27 and CoWIN - the country's delivery tech platform is designed to absorb even higher numbers, RS Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority told Moneycontrol. (Representative image)

A major Israeli hospital will begin administering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot to 150 staff on Monday in a trial aimed at gauging whether a second booster is necessary nationwide, the facility said.

Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv said its trial would shed light on the efficacy of a fourth dose and help decision-makers set health policy in Israel and abroad.

Israel has reported 1,118 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, with the number of people infected by it doubling every two days.

A Health Ministry panel of experts has recommended offering a fourth dose of the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine to Israelis aged 60 and over who received a booster shot at least four months ago.

But final approval by the ministry’s director-general is still pending amid public debate as to whether sufficient scientific information is available to justify a new booster drive.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Sheba Medical Center did not say how long its trial would last.

"We will examine the fourth dose’s effect on the level of antibodies and morbidity and we will gauge its safety," it quoted Gili Regev-Yochay, the study’s director, as saying. "We will understand whether it is worthwhile to administer a fourth shot, and to whom."

The 150 Sheba medical workers taking part in the trial, which the hospital said had received Health Ministry approval, got booster shots no later than Aug 20.

Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he tested negative on Sunday for COVID-19 after his 14-year-old daughter was infected. It said he would self-isolate.
Reuters
first published: Dec 27, 2021 08:14 am
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