Medical Technology

Israel Testing Second Booster Shot as Way to Defend Omicron

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

One hundred fifty health workers in an Israeli hospital received a second COVID booster shot on Monday in an experiment to determine whether the booster shot offers more protection against the Omicron variant.

A spokesperson from Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv said that the results from the test will be sent to the Health Ministry of Israel within two weeks. The health ministry will decide whether to approve a booster for the general public.

The health ministry said Saturday that 1,118 confirmed Omicron cases have been found so far with 723 cases being found in travelers returning from overseas. Israel has a population of about 9.4 million.

“There is high probability for 861 additional cases of exposure to the Omicron variant for whom the results of genetic sequencing are not yet available,” the ministry said in a press release.

“The big question is: how important is Omicron?” It is evident to everyone that it’s highly contagious. But whether it causes serious illness is what’s most important,” Gili RegevYochay, who is leading the Sheba trial she told Reuters.

Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist who heads Israel’s Association of Public Health Physicians, said the testing is necessary to determine whether people become vulnerable to severe disease when the protection of one shot of boosters wears off.

Levine stated to Reuters that “we can’t blindly assume another shot will fix the issue allthe time, because it won’t.”

The Israeli government has promoted vaccines in an effort to contain COVID-19, but the demand for vaccines has leveled off, Reuters said. Sixty percent have received two vaccine doses and 45% have received the booster shot.

Also on Monday On Monday, the Israeli Health Ministry shortened the recommended time between third and second doses down to three months from five months, Reuters said. This was done to lessen the rise in infections.


Reuters: “Israeli hospital launches the first test of the COVID-19 booster”

Israeli Health Ministry. “Today, 25/12/2021, 591 New Confirmed cases of the Omicron Variant Detected in Israel”

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