Israel is readying to roll out a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose as part of its effort to battle an ongoing surge of virus cases, according to the nation’s top health official.
“We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer,” Israeli Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash told a local outlet, according to Bloomberg.
Israel expanded its coronavirus vaccine effort in August, making it the first nation to approve a third shot, Bloomberg reported. An estimated 2.8 million people in Israel have received a booster shot since then.
While nearly 80% of Israel’s population has received two doses of the vaccine, the country experienced a large surge in coronavirus cases and deaths over the summer, data compiled by Reuters showed. The surge suggested that the vaccines blunt, but don’t extinguish more contagious forms of the virus, according to Science Magazine.
“Given that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,” Israeli coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said last week, Business Insider reported.
Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies showed vaccine effectiveness waning several months after being administered.
Last month, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would begin offering booster shots on Sept. 20. The White House said booster shots would be recommended for individuals eight months after their second vaccine dose.
But two senior Food and Drug Administration officials resigned shortly after the announcement, saying the White House had pressured the agency to quickly approve a booster vaccine.
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