Israel weighs approving a fourth vaccine dose
Israel’s Health Ministry was weighing on Thursday whether to approve a fourth Covid vaccine dose to try to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant after experts recommended it, saying they believed the country had to act.
Though there is not much scientific data, the pandemic response advisers concluded that the potential benefits outweighed the risks, pointing to signs of waning immunity a few months after the third shot and arguing that a delay in additional vaccine doses might prove too late to protect those most at risk.
If the Health Ministry approves the panel’s recommendation, Israel could start administering fourth doses as soon as Sunday for at-risk groups: those over age 60, the immuno-compromised and health care workers. The panel did not recommend a fourth dose for the general population. Top officials supported the move.
“The price will be higher if we don’t vaccinate,” Dr. Boaz Lev, the head of the advisory panel, said at a news conference late Wednesday. Describing the spread of Omicron as “a kind of tsunami or tornado,” he said, “We don’t have a lot of time to make decisions.”