A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies fivefold a week after the shot is administered, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday, citing preliminary findings of an Israeli study.
“A week into the fourth dose we know to a higher degree of certainty that the fourth dose is safe,” Bennett said at Sheba Medical Center, which is giving second booster shots in a trial among its staff amid a nationwide surge in omicron variant infections.
“The second piece of news: We know that a week after administration of a fourth dose, we see a five-fold increase in the number of antibodies in the vaccinated person,” he told reporters.
“This most likely means a significant increase against infection and …hospitalization and (severe) symptoms,” Bennett said in English.
On Sunday, Israel approved the fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine to over 60s, after it was earlier authorized for patients living in geriatric facilities, care homes, and to immunocompromised people.
The rollout of further vaccines is a cornerstone of Israel's strategy to combat the omicron wave, with Israel recording over 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday in one of its highest ever daily tolls.
The proliferation of the virus has also recently sent the education system into disarray, with 92,848 students and 4,411 school staff across Israel in quarantine, and thousands of students studying remotely following the expiration of regulations.
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Amid the spread of the pandemic, Israel reversed its ban on travelers from several countries, with the local infection rate surpassing many of the countries that were barred.
Israel announced it will admit foreigners with presumed COVID-19 immunity from medium-risk countries as of January 9, with mandatory quarantine falling from 72 hours to 24 hours for vaccinated or recovered individuals. However, the United States, Great Britain, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Switzerland and Turkey remain on Israel's so-called red list, essentially barring incoming tourists from these countries.