According to a serological study conducted at a hospital in Israel, the antibodies are 10 times higher in the body of someone who has been administered the third shot of COVID-19 vaccine, as opposed to those after a second dose. It was reported that these results were seen amongst the vaccinated staff members of Sheba Medical Center located in Ramat Gan, outside of Tel Aviv. This was considered optimistic in regard to the time the booster shot is able to provide protection. The comparison of the antibody levels in the study was done a week after the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered to the staff to the levels a week after administration of the second dose.
The hospital said that they were treating the results cautiously and would continue to check the antibody levels in the coming months. Israel is the first country that launched its campaign for the third dose on August 1st. Initially, the dose was only rolled out to people who were over the age of 60. Gradually, they dropped the eligibility age, and eventually, it was expanded to everyone aged 12 and above, who had received their second dose at least 5 months before. As of Wednesday, almost 3 million people in Israel have received the third shot.
Salman Zarka, the coronavirus czar has already announced that the country should also begin preparing for the fourth dose of the vaccine. On September 4th, he said that given COVID-19 is here to stay, there will eventually be a need for a fourth injection. However, he didn’t specify when this fourth dose will be injected. Last month, he said that considering the waning of the antibodies and vaccines, it appears that another shot will be required after every few months. Earlier this month, the Health Ministry had also announced that the ‘Green Pass’ will also expire six months after the holder has received their second or third dose.
This is a document that enables people to gain entry in public places and certain gatherings and it is issued to those who have recovered and are vaccinated. This indicates that a fourth dose may be required in six months after the third dose. However, the higher level of antibodies after the third dose shows that a fourth dose may not be required so quickly. Earlier this week, two outgoing officials of the FDA and 18 leading scientists claimed that there is no need to give third doses to the general population.
According to the report, even with the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant, it is not appropriate to give booster shots to the population at this stage of the pandemic. After a few countries like Israel launched campaigns for booster shots, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a moratorium due to concerns regarding vaccine supplies to poorer nations, where people have yet to get their first dose. Rather than booster shots, WHO said that the priority is to give first shots to vulnerable populations and health workers in poorer countries.