fourth dose dilemma

The Hebrew state is certainly moving towards a fourth dose of an anti-Covid vaccine for people over the age of 70 and populations at risk: what is missing is the approval of the Director-General of the Ministry of Health to implement the campaign , which will be the first in the world.

Last week, the Scientific Council on COVID-19 recommended this second booster for healthcare workers and people over 60, as well as reducing the time between two doses to three months. The measures were greeted with enthusiasm by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzen Horowitz.

Such rush may come as a surprise even in a fully vaccinated country. The fourth dose is yet to be approved by major regulatory agencies. And the health situation in Israel is quite good: the Jewish state decided to tightly close its borders on November 29, just days after the new version was identified. “We won a month”, Bennett said on December 21.

three thousand intensive care beds

Today, the version remains firmly in the field. A woman admitted to the hospital died on Tuesday evening, she reached the variant Omicron. She was one of 1,741 carriers. More than half of them contracted it abroad – but according to the health ministry, 623 new cases, mostly local transmissions, were confirmed in Monday alone. According to government forecasts, new infections are expected to double every two to three days.

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The number of serious cases, it remains stable, condition of 84 people is critical. Israel has 3,000 intensive care beds: so we are far from an emergency. “It’s a real dilemma, says Ran Balisar, head of the Scientific Council. Our position is unique as we are the first country to give a booster, and therefore the first to see a decline in immunity after the third dose. ,

“According to UK statistics, this type of hospitalization is three times less likely to be hospitalized – but if it is three times more contagious you run the risk of being overwhelmed,” Mr Balisar adds. When it comes to public health, optimism is important, but it is our responsibility to prepare for all scenarios. ,

Restriction measures are poorly observed

“When we fight against a pandemic, we sometimes have to take risks”, Professor Arnon Afek, deputy director of Sheba Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the country, has a lot to offer for his part. Since the introduction of vaccination, the hospital has conducted continuous studies on its 6,000 employees. In mid-December, Sheba called for the world’s first study to begin on a fourth dose – authorization received earlier this week from the health ministry: 150 people between the ages of 20 and 80 began receiving a second booster on Monday. Happened.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

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