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Israeli experts recommend a fourth COVID vaccine dose for adults

An Israeli panel said research shows a fourth COVID-19 shot provides three to five times as much protection against serious COVID-19 as three doses.

An expert panel Tuesday advised the Israeli government to begin offering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to everyone over 18, citing research that it helps prevent infection and severe illness.

The advisory committee said research shows that a fourth dose provides three to five times the level of protection against serious disease and double the protection against infection compared with three doses. The Israeli Health Ministry’s director must approve the recommendation.

Israel is already offering a second booster to everyone over 60 and those at high risk as it struggles to contain a wave of infections fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. It began offering third doses to the general population last summer.

Figures from the Health Ministry show there are currently about 580,000 active COVID-19 cases, with just 845 people listed as seriously ill. Nearly half the population has received a third dose and more than 600,000 have gotten a fourth. Israel has reported 8,487 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Israel has been on the leading edge of vaccine distribution since the shots were approved by health authorities in late 2020. It has gathered extensive data that are informing other countries’ responses to the pandemic.


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