A new peer-reviewed study shows that Israeli data gives the global population safety reassurances when it comes to the fourth shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With the northern hemisphere gearing up for the winter season, COVID-19 cases are expected to surge and this means an uphill battle for healthcare workers in a number of countries.
They have to convince people to get booster shots of the coronavirus vaccine.
People accepted the first, second and third doses because they were considered a part of the initial regimen.
But, there has been more resistance where people are now eligible for the fourth shot, or even the fifth one in some countries including Israel.
Since people no longer consider vaccines essential as they did initially, they have now begun to question the safety credentials.
Statistics in Israel show that the second shot was administered to 6.1 million people, but a fourth shot has been given to just 900,000.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine published a new study, which shows the first study conducted on a large scale into the safety of getting the fourth dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The study was authored by Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Dan Yamin and said that the study offered the global population safety assurances.
The member of the Combating Pandemics department said that the assurances offered by the study will help increase the number of people who get the fourth shot, which will reduce the number of severe cases of COVID-19.
Yamin co-authored the study with analysts and doctors from Maccabi Healthcare Services, as they provided the data needed for assessing the safety of the booster dose.
The focus of the study were the regular shots of the Pfizer vaccine that are being widely used even now, as compared to the ones that had been adapted recently for greater effectiveness against newer variants.
There were two parts of the study. The first involved an analysis of the medical records of about 17,814 people who had been given the fourth dose to identify any side effects.
The authors said that they had compared 42 days pre and post vaccination and had not seen any adverse events.
While the data does offer a resounding conclusion, it is possible that patients may be suffering from side effects that they do not report.
Therefore, a group of Maccabi patients were recruited by the researchers for wearing smartwatches for monitoring their health and giving them access to medical records.
Physiological measures were monitored by the smartwatches, which included heart rate. There was also a mobile app that had a questionnaire patients had to complete daily.
This part of the study involved 699 patients who had gotten the fourth shot. Patients who had received the third shot were also included for comparison.
The researchers discovered that the reactions to the fourth shot were not very different from the third. Average heart rates did rise in the first couple of days of receiving the booster, but they returned to normal.