Israel has been at the forefront of countries speedily rolling out Covid-19 vaccines for its population of just over 9 million, earlier in the fall becoming the first nation to initiate a widespread booster program. Recently a government advisory panel went so far as to recommend a booster shot for children ages 12 to 15.
On Monday Israel has initiated trials of a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose, or its second round of a booster, which is being conducted on 150 medical workers who took their third booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in August, according to The Associated Press. Israel is believed to be the first country in the world to initiate such a program as a second booster.
The country is already considered the world's leader in administering a booster dose to the population, with 4.2 million of the total population having received one. This as it is continually updating the requirements of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" - which impacts citizens' ability to use the so-called Green Pass for access to restaurants, bars, gyms, and other public venues.
The trial is expected to take six months, so it's unlikely that all Israelis will be forced to roll up their sleeves for yet a fourth shot until after this period:
Gili Regev-Yochay, the director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit at Sheba, explained that the study will assess the antibody boost from a fourth shot and monitor any potential adverse reactions, and if the second boost reduces the risk of infection from omicron, according to CBS News.
The participants will be monitored for six months after receiving their fourth dose.
However, a fourth shot is already set to be offered to people over the age of 60 or anyone with a compromised immune system, including also frontline health care workers. People will be advised to wait four months after they receive their third shot to get the fourth one.
CNBC reports, "A Health Ministry expert panel last week recommended that Israel become the first country to offer a fourth vaccine dose - also known as a second booster - to those aged over 60, those suffering from compromised immune systems, and medical workers."
All of this begs the question: does the third shot work? if not, then will a fourth? After all, Israelis like much of the rest of the world are wondering 'when will it all end?'... An important weekend development widely reported in Israeli media is illustrative:
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s daughter tested positive for the coronavirus, and will enter quarantine, a spokesman for the prime minister said Sunday afternoon.
The prime minister left Sunday’s cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights after receiving news of his daughter’s positive test and was also self-isolating, according to the spokesperson. Bennett took a rapid antigen test before attending the meeting and tested negative.
The daughter, who is 14 years old, was vaccinated against COVID-19 in June.
So the leader of one of the most highly vaccinated countries on the earth had to run out of an important cabinet meeting due to exposure to Covid-19. Bennett reportedly later tested negative.
One would think that after himself being triple-vaxxed, he would have had a little more confidence in the vaccine and stayed in the cabinet meeting. But it seems the PM's "faith" in the "trust the science" mantra is waning.