Health And Family

Fourth jab 'partially' effective against Omicron: Israeli study

Agence France-Presse
Fourth jab 'partially' effective against Omicron: Israeli study
A member of the public receives a Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through NHS (National Health Service) vaccination centre outside Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers Football Club in Blackburn in north-west England on January 17, 2022, as the Omicron coronavirus variant spreads in the country.
AFP/Paul Ellis

JERUSALEM, Undefined — Fourth doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against Covid-19 are only "partially" effective for the Omicron variant of the virus, the authors of an Israeli trial said Monday.

A team from Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv began conducting a trial in December on fourth doses of coronavirus vaccines, inoculating 154 hospital personnel with Pfizer jabs and 120 other volunteers with Moderna doses.

Preliminary results of the trial "have shown that the vaccines are safe and have shown to produce substantial antibodies, but are only partially effective in defending against the Omicron variant," the hospital said in a statement.

Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, who leads the study, said that while there was an increase in antibodies after administering a fourth dose, it nonetheless "only offers a partial defenser against the virus" for those infected with the Omicron variant.

The vaccines were "extremely effective against the earlier variants," Regev-Yochay noted. 

Israel was among the first countries to launch mass immunisation campaigns for its population.

It then began offering booster shots last summer, and has since greenlighted fourth shots for elderly and vulnerable populations.

More than 537,000 Israelis have received a fourth dose of vaccine, according to the health ministry's latest figures.

More than 80 percent of Israel's adult residents have received two coronavirus vaccine shots and more than half have also been given a booster.

Reduced quarantine

Meanwhile, the Israeli government on Monday said it was reducing the quarantine period for positive cases from seven to five days, as a record number of infections threatens to overburden the economy.

"This decision will enable us to continue safeguarding public health on the one hand and to keep the economy going at this time on the other, even though it is difficult," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a short video message sent by his office.

Faced with skyrocketing infections fuelled by the Omicron variant, Israel has become the latest country to reduce quarantine periods, after similar moves from France, Spain, Argentina, the United States and Britain.

Israel shuttered its borders after discovering one case infected with the Omicron variant in November, but reopened in early January, despite a spike in infections.

In total, more than 1.7 million infections have been recorded since the start of the pandemic in Israel, including more than 8,300 deaths, according to official figures.





As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 13, 2022 - 1:53pm

Follow this page for updates on the new COVID-19 variant, dubbed Omicron and originally detected in South Africa. Photo courtesy of the The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

May 13, 2022 - 1:53pm

The first cases of Omicron BA.2.12.1 COVID-19 variant have been detected in the National Capital Region and Palawan, the Department of Health says.

The first two cases in NCR have both received their booster shot and are now tagged as asymptomatic and recovered after completing home isolation.

Meanwhile, 14 tourists and 1 local tested positive in Puerto Princesa City on April 29. All cases are now asymptomatic.

May 12, 2022 - 8:43am

North Korea on Thursday confirms its first-ever case of Covid-19, with state media calling it a "severe national emergency incident" after more than two years of keeping the pandemic at bay.

The official KCNA news agency says the case was "consistent with" the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant. — AFP

May 5, 2022 - 7:56am

Two new Omicron sub-variants are driving an increase in reported Covid cases in South Africa, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, stressing the importance of testing to monitor virus mutations and spread.

The heavily mutated and highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in southern Africa in November last year and rapidly spread globally, is now the dominant variant, accounting for almost all new cases. 

Omicron has long been known to have several sub-variants, with BA.2 by far the most dominant. 

But now the South African scientists who first identified Omicron are pointing to two other Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, "as the reason for a spike in cases" in the country, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference. — AFP

April 27, 2022 - 5:35pm

The Department of Health says it has detected the country’s first case of BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant.

The case is a Finnish woman who arrived from Finland last April 2.

According to DOH, the woman went to a university in Quezon then to Baguio to conduct seminars. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

April 21, 2022 - 9:04am

Shanghai further eases its weeks-long Covid-19 lockdown on Wednesday despite mounting deaths and tens of thousands of new cases — but some residents are furious that uneven enforcement is still leaving them trapped at home.

China's largest city is inching towards reopening as businesses and residents grow increasingly desperate over closures and food shortages.

Faced with the country's worst virus outbreak in two years, Shanghai has confined most of its 25 million people to their homes since last month, doubling down on the Communist Party's unrelenting zero-Covid approach.

But the surge, driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, has thwarted official efforts to avert a pandemic rebound, with more than 400,000 infections reported since March. — AFP

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