Fourth dose vaccine, Israel stop: depends on Omicon variant

Need another booster dose? Jaws from the US: “It’s premature to talk about it”

Do you need the fourth dose of the vaccine? When? The spread of the Omicron variant, with the boom of infections in many countries, contributes to fuel the debate. Is the third dose enough to bend the curve or will it be necessary to resort to another booster, perhaps updated, in a relatively short time? The questions are legitimate after Israel’s reverse. The country, at the forefront of the vaccination campaign so far and considered a sort of ‘test laboratory’ by the rest of the world, has set off the red light: the fourth dose, which should have been administered from Sunday to over 60s and health personnel , for now it remains in the box.

The Israeli ministry of health has made the decision, as reported by channel 13. The director general of the ministry Nachman Ash has not approved the campaign after examining data from Great Britain that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causes less serious diseases. compared to the Delta strain.

Israel was the first country in the world to authorize the administration of a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine and to set a date. According to public broadcaster Kan, Ash will likely make a decision on the fourth vaccine doses by the middle of next week. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wants to start administering the additional boosters as soon as possible, Kan added, stating that Ash has the final say on the matter.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the cautious line seems to be shared by Professor Anthony Fauci, principal adviser to the President of the United States, Joe Biden. ” It is premature to talk about a fourth dose “, says the immunologist.” One of the things we will be following very closely is how long the protection lasts after the third dose of an mRna vaccine “, adds Fauci, reserving a speech for part to severely immunocompromised people. Fauci stresses the importance of getting a booster right away – third dose for those who have completed an ordinary cycle – for better protection against the virus. ” Sometimes when people hear the word booster they think it is a luxury or an addition. It’s not, it’s really an essential part of the optimal protection you want. ‘

In Italy, the subject was touched upon by Undersecretary Pierpaolo Sileri. “Both the extension of the third dose to under 18s and the administration of a possible fourth dose – he explains – are hypotheses to be verified in light of the numbers that will emerge in the next few weeks on the prevalence of the Omicron variant and on its possible lower aggressiveness, as it would seem according to to some preliminary studies from South Africa and the United Kingdom “.

“If this variant, as we all hope, were to lead to fewer hospitalizations and deaths – he adds – we will also have to understand if this happens because it is less ‘bad’, or even because it finds a population with a solid vaccination base. It is therefore necessary, now more than ever, accelerate both with the first and third doses “.

Poker, according to Professor Massimo Galli, will sooner or later come. “I would like to say, although I am sorry to say, that in a situation in which in a year we have had three different variants that have taken the scene, the last of which is very different from the virus on which the vaccines were made, the third dose will not be the last dose needed “, says Galli, former director of infectious diseases at the Sacco hospital in Milan.

What happened “leads me to think – underlines the expert – that the matter will evolve into a situation in which periodically it will be necessary to repeat, if things do not change, a vaccination set up perhaps with new vaccines targeted on the predominant variant, a bit on the model influence”. A booster once a year with vaccine updates? “It is one of the possible hypotheses that I think should be considered. But if there were any doubts” about the need for an adjustment of the vaccines “I think they have been dispelled by this Omicron variant which has 32 mutations compared to the Wuhan virus and which would justify by itself that a new vaccine is put in place “, he concludes.