Israel announced on Sunday that cancer patients were ultimately not on the list of people eligible for a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, contrary to what officials said earlier this week.
The Hebrew state on Monday began giving a third dose of the vaccine to patients with weakened immune systems, including those with certain cancers, saying there were risks that patients treated with immunosuppressants would “produce antibodies after two doses.” will not develop to a satisfactory level”.
But the health ministry eventually reversed its decision, saying people were not “recommended to be vaccinated” for the third time, after studying data from oncology departments on hundreds of patients. with cancer.
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“About 90% of chemotherapy patients develop antibodies after (two doses) of the vaccine and antibody levels remain high for several months after vaccination,” the ministry says.
“In addition, vaccination can have side effects (…) that can affect treatment,” he says.
Dozens of people with cancer have received their third dose since Monday, according to a spokesman for Israel’s largest Sheba hospital, located in the Tel Aviv region.
The Hebrew state was one of the first countries to launch a massive vaccination campaign in mid-December, thanks to a deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which supplied the country with millions of doses in return. Company BioNtech.
Both laboratories announced on July 8 that they would soon seek authorization for a third dose in the United States and Europe.
However, European officials believe it is “too early” to know whether a new dose is really necessary, while the WHO is concerned about the possibility that a third dose may be normalized to the detriment of those countries. whose citizens do. There is no access to vaccines yet.