Covid-19: Israel begins administering fourth dose to vulnerable people

A year after launching a first anti-Covid vaccination campaign, Israel on Friday began administering a fourth dose of the vaccine to vulnerable people in hopes of mitigating the effects of a new wave of contamination linked to the spread of the virus. Omicron variant. Health authorities on Thursday gave the green light to the fourth dose for immunocompromised people following the booster dose campaign in the summer of 2021. In the morning, doses were administered at Sheba hospital, located in Ramat Gan in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, in patients who have undergone heart transplants for example.

“At first I was worried, but after talking to my doctor I felt reassured because she told me that it was the right thing to do, that it would help us, so I feel good to present, “said Rinat Orion, a 50-year-old woman who has undergone a heart transplant and therefore considered a vulnerable person in the event of contamination with Covid-19. This hospital began a clinical trial on Monday by administering a fourth dose of the anticoronavirus vaccine to its caregivers. “We had obtained good results with the third dose which, moreover, did not cause side effects except for slight localized pain (…) We are impatient to see the response to this fourth dose” Dr Galia Rahav said on Friday.

A fourth dose for the elderly

The administration of a fourth dose will assess the possible rise in antibodies and the appearance of side effects, and will tell whether or not it reduces the risk of infection, said Gili Regev-Yochay, director. from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Sheba Hospital. Shortly after the vaccination of immunocompromised people began, the director of the Ministry of Health, Nachman Ash, authorized the immediate administration of a fourth dose for residents of nursing homes and patients in geriatric departments.

“This decision was taken following fears of an increase in the number of contaminations in these institutions which endangers the health of these people,” the health ministry said as the Hebrew state prides itself on to once again be at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 with this campaign.

4,916 new cases on Friday

“Israel is leading the way by administering a fourth dose to its people. Our strategy to face Omicron is clear: the stronger the wave, the more protection we will need to face it,” he said Thursday, reintroducing moreover, the use of sanitary masks in outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people. Israel also received Thursday a first delivery of anti-coronavirus pills from Pfizer as the number of contaminations continues to increase in the country which had recorded its first case of the Omicron variant at the end of November.

In recent days, the spread of the Omicron variant has contributed to a dramatic jump in Covid-19 cases without, at least so far, translating into a marked increase in hospitalizations. Authorities on Friday reported 4,916 new cases of Covid in the past 24 hours, a record since September and an increase of 152% from a week ago, which could quickly increase pressure on the health system. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem estimated on Friday that the number of cases could rise to 15,000 or even 20,000 a day within ten days and that the number of patients in serious condition, which currently stands at around one. hundred for the country, could more than multiply tenfold within a month.

In a country of 9.2 million people, where more than half of the population has already received a booster dose, severe cases are currently concentrated in unvaccinated people, according to data released by authorities. A total of 1,381,684 contaminations have been identified since the start of the pandemic in Israel, including 8,243 deaths according to official figures.

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