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Booster dose not enough? Omicron sparks debate around 4th shot of vaccine

Booster dose not enough? Omicron sparks debate around 4th shot of vaccine

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has put additional strain on healthcare systems across the world, as doctors have to deal with its increased mutation and higher transmissibility. That is why, there are debates happening around a fourth shot of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine. Yes, you read is right. A fourth shot – in effect a second booster dose. Israel is leading the efforts in this direction, approving a study on Monday into whether a second round of boosters will help contend with the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The study is being done at a hospital in Israel where a test group of health workers is being administered fourth Covid-19 vaccine doses. Results of the trial, likely to be closely watched internationally, will be submitted to Israels health ministry in about two weeks, said a spokesperson for Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv. Concerned about the risk of a sudden surge in hospitalisations in Israel due to Omicron spread, a ministry expert panel last week recommended offering a fourth jab to medical workers and those over 60 or with compromised immune systems. Medical professionals are talking about administering a fourth Covid-19 shot to people to control the spread of a variant which is believed to be more resistant to existing lot of vaccines. A few weeks ago, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that people might need a fourth Covid-19 shot sooner than expected due to the Omicron variant. The statement came days after Pfizer and BioNTech released results of a study which showed that a third shot of the vaccine is effective against Omicron, but a two-dose regime saw its ability to protect dropping significantly against the heavily-mutated virus. Those who have received both the doses are, however, prevented from getting severely sick. Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach also favoured giving a fourth shot to maintain protection against the Omicron variant. But in the United States, the worst affected country, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it’s too early to discuss a potential fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine. In a recent radio interview with WCBS Newsradio 880, Dr Fauci said that “it’s too premature” to talk about a fourth dose. He said that if the protection is much more durable than the two-dose, non-boosted group, “then we may go a significant period of time without requiring a fourth dose”. Global Covid-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, according to news agency Reuters, as the Omicron variant raced out of control and governments tried to contain its spread without paralysing fragile economies. Almost 900,000 cases were detected on average each day worldwide between December 22 and 28, Reuters reported..

world-news 2021-12-31 hindustantimes