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Israeli hospital to give fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot in trial

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By Reuters
Israel's Bennett self-isolates after daughter tests positive for COVID-19
Israel's Bennett self-isolates after daughter tests positive for COVID-19   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">JERUSALEM</span> -A major Israeli hospital will begin administering a fourth <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 vaccine shot to 150 staff on Monday in a trial aimed at gauging whether a second booster is necessary nationwide, the facility said on Sunday.</p> <p>Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv said its trial would shed light on the efficacy of a fourth dose and help decision-makers set health policy in Israel and abroad. </p> <p>Israel has reported 1,118 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, with the number of people infected by it doubling every two days.</p> <p>A Health Ministry panel of experts has recommended offering a fourth dose of the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine to Israelis aged 60 and over who received a booster shot at least four months ago.</p> <p>But final approval by the ministry’s director-general is still pending amid public debate as to whether sufficient scientific information is available to justify a new booster drive.</p> <p>Sheba Medical Center did not say how long its trial would last.</p> <p>“We will examine the fourth dose’s effect on the level of antibodies and morbidity and we will gauge its safety,” it quoted Gili Regev-Yochay, the study’s director, as saying. “We will understand whether it is worthwhile to administer a fourth shot, and to whom.”</p> <p>The 150 Sheba medical workers taking part in the trial, which the hospital said had received Health Ministry approval, got booster shots no later than Aug 20.</p> <p>Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he tested negative on Sunday for <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 after his 14-year-old daughter was infected. It said he would self-isolate.</p> </div>