The fourth dose of protection for the elderly is only four weeks, beauty experts: ordinary people do not need to fight

Faced with a surge in cases of Omicron, many countries have begun rolling out the fourth dose of the vaccine to some populations, including Israel and the United States. Israel began administering the fourth dose of the vaccine to people over 60 in January this year, but recent studies have shown that, The fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine provided protection against the infection for just a few weeks, while it lasted longer in preventing severe disease.

The U.S. has opened up a fourth dose for certain immunocompromised people, and as the pandemic heats up, the FDA last month extended emergency use authorization to allow adults 50 and older four months after the first booster of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. A second booster injection can be given. But the debate over whether the general population needs a fourth dose continues.

A previous Israeli study found that the fourth dose had little effect in preventing infections in young, healthy people, but the effect in older adults was still unknown. Israel has begun administering its fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to Israelis 60 years of age or older on January 2, coinciding with the arrival of the Omicron variant, so data from the Israeli study could make it clearer that the booster dose prevents Omicron in older adults. Effect.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Israeli scientists tracked the health records of more than 1.25 million vaccinated people aged 60 or older from January 2022 to March 2022, when Omicron was the primary strain. The data found that the rate of confirmed infections in the fourth week following the fourth dose was 2 times lower than that of the three-dose group, and the rate of severe Covid-19 infection was 3.5 times lower than those who received only three doses. And protection against Omicron appeared to be greatest in the fourth week post-vaccination, followed by a rapid decline in protection against confirmed infection, which was the same as the three-dose group by week eight.

However, the protection against severe disease did not appear to diminish in the six weeks after the fourth injection, but the study was not long enough to determine how long the protection lasted. Scientists believe that the protection provided by any vaccine will naturally diminish, but if threatened later, the vaccine will prompt the immune system to produce protective antibodies. “For infection prevention, the fourth dose appears to provide only short-term protection, but when it comes to serious infections, the fourth dose appears to be helpful,” the researchers wrote.

A previous Israeli study found that about 20 percent of health care workers who received the fourth dose of the vaccine were infected with Omicron, while about 25 percent of those who received the third dose were infected with Omicron, showing only a slight improvement in the efficacy of the fourth dose in preventing infection. Most scientists in the U.S. don’t think the general population needs a fourth dose, said Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor of international health and director of the Center for Immunization Research, “In my opinion, very few people need a fourth dose. ” The director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also believes that “unless there is clear evidence that something has value, don’t offer it.”

Mainly, the evidence for the fourth dose of the vaccine is not enough. Moderna and Pfizer have submitted data on a fourth booster dose to the FDA, and the FDA has convened a meeting of outside vaccine advisors to discuss the future of booster shots, how often they might be needed, and whether a specific version of the vaccine might be more beneficial. With an FDA advisory committee meeting only this week and no vote scheduled, it could take weeks for the FDA to decide whether to approve the fourth-dose applications from Pfizer and Moderna.

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