Does it make sense to take an extra corona suit on top of the vaccination you‘ve already had? And who should the jab be for? Yesterday, the Health Council recommended that only those with severe immune disorders be given an extra shot at the time being, while in Israel everyone can get it. According to experts successfully.
Besides Israel, Hungary also has a so-called booster shot available for everyone. In Germany, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, the jab will soon be available, especially for vulnerable people.
Israel is the big frontrunner when it comes to the third jab: three million residents already received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine there. The boosters are available to anyone over the age of 12. Those who do not choose to do so will no longer be seen as ‘fully vaccinated‘ six months after taking the second dose, and also loses the freedoms that come with it.
Israel bet on the third jab, after it emerged that the protection of the vaccine was increasingly declining, says virologist Eyal Leshem. He is also director of Israel’s largest hospital. “Around late July, early August, we saw a very rapid increase in the number of corona infections. We also saw an increase in the number of hospitalizations and seriously ill people. Many of those people were fully vaccinated.”
“We noticed that those who had already been vaccinated in January had less protection than those who had only received their second shot in April. So the longer ago you received the second doses, the lower your protection was. That‘s why a boost shot was a lawful response.”
The impact of the booster shots is clearly noticeable, Leshem sees. “Absolutely. We go to school, we go to work, everything’s open. We have no lockdown, hospitalizations are overseen and we have no increase in the number of serious cases. Thanks to the booster.”
Gabi Barbash, professor of epidemiology and former top official, has the impression that the third jab has done its job well. “The results are phenomenal. The vaccine was able to control the delta variant. The third dose saved this country.”
‘Scarce Supply ‘
Yet there is also criticism of Israel‘s approach. The World Health Organization (WHO) wrote in a statement on August 10 that booster shots “increase the demand for vaccines and consume scarce supply”. While some populations in different countries have not even been given access to a first dose of the vaccine.
“I think that’s a right point,” Barbash says. “On the other hand, Israel doesn‘t have so many residents that we are putting the global supply of vaccines at risk. And if we hadn’t had the third dose, it would have become a disaster here. It was our only option.”
the WHO appeal, virologist Leshem believes that many countries will eventually be forced to use a booster. “To the elderly and to weak groups. Because we see immunity decreases.”
Professor of Epidemiology Barbash thinks it would be wise for other countries to give everyone a third jab just like in Israel. “You have to build a wall between the virus and the population.”
The Health Council recommends preparing for the large-scale use of boosters in the Netherlands too. “Once there is a declining trend in vaccine effectiveness against serious illness, booster vaccination should be considered.”
Corona minister Hugo de Jonge announced yesterday in the press conference that RIVM is “watching closely or decreasing the protection of the vaccines”. If necessary, “the people who need the jab the most” will be the turn.
In the meantime Israel thinks further. A fourth jab is already being prepared, says the government.