Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Israel’s largest hospital, has begun trials of a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, said to be the first study of its kind.
The trial began earlier this week with 150 medical personnel who had received a booster dose in August. They received the fourth dose after they were tested and found to have low antibody levels.
The trial came as Israeli officials considered rolling out a second tranche of booster shots to the population as the country deals with rising infections from the Omicron variant.
Prof. Jacob Lavee, former director of the heart transplant unit at Sheba was the first to take part in the trial. He said that “hopefully, we’ll be able to show here… that this fourth booster really provides protection against the omicron, which is highly needed.”
“This study will test the effect of the fourth vaccine dose on the level of antibodies, on preventing contagion, and check its safety,” Sheba’s Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay said, according to The Times of Israel.
“This study is expected to shed light on the additional benefit of giving a fourth dose, and lead us to understand whether and to whom it is worth giving a fourth dose,” she added.
Israel has been applauded for its rapid rollout of the vaccine campaign and was set to become the first country in the world to roll out a fourth dose for certain groups.