Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett cites study

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the “fourth dose is safe” for the coronavirus. (file)

Ramat Gan (Israel): Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that an Israeli study indicated fourth coronavirus vaccinations were “safe” and antibodies had increased “fivefold”, as the country expands its vaccination campaign amid rising infections.

Speaking during a visit to Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv, which administered the fourth vaccine to 154 of its staff a week ago as part of a study, the Israeli premier said the additional shot “works”.

“One week into the fourth dose, we know with a high degree of certainty that the fourth dose is safe,” he said along with Professor Gallia Rahav, head of Sheba’s infectious diseases unit and the leader of the study.

“A week after the administration of the fourth dose, we see a five-fold increase in the number of antibodies in the vaccinated individual,” Bennett said.

“This most likely resulted in a significant increase in protection against infection and severe hospitalization and symptoms,” he said, noting that the facility was due to publish its findings soon.

The study used Pfizer jabs, said Sheba Hospital spokesman Steve Walz, adding that a separate trial of the fourth vaccine shots would begin this week for 150 people using Moderna Vaccine.

Israel on Friday began giving people with weak immunity for the fourth time. On Monday, it expanded this to health workers and people over 60, making it one of the first countries to do so.

The move comes nearly a year after launching a massive vaccination campaign on the back of a data-sharing agreement with US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer.

On Tuesday, the health ministry reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the previous day, compared to a daily average of less than 4,000 the previous week.

More than four million people from Israel’s population of 9.4 million have received three shots of the coronavirus vaccine.

The country has officially recorded over 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 infection, including 8,247 deaths.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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