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Israeli study shows that 4th shot of COVID-19 vaccine is less effective on Omicron

93-year-old Shari Marco receives a fourth dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine after a vaccination party after Israel approved another booster shot for immunocompromised, people over 60 and medical staff at a nursing home in Netanya, Israel 5 January 2022. REUTERS / Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM, January 17 (Reuters) - A fourth shot of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies to even higher levels than the third sting, but it is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, according to a preliminary study in Israel.

Israel's Sheba Medical Center has given other booster shots in a trial among its staff and is studying the effects of the Pfizer booster in 154 people after two weeks and the Moderna booster in 120 people after one week, said Gili Regev-Yochay, director of The Unit for Infectious Diseases.

These were compared to a control group that did not receive the fourth shot. Those in the Moderna group had previously received three shots of Pfizer's vaccine, the hospital said.

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The vaccines led to an increase in the number of antibodies "even a little higher than what we had after the third dose," Regev-Yochay said.

"Still, this is probably not enough for Omicron," she told reporters. "We now know that the level of antibodies needed to protect and not be infected by Omicron is probably too high for the vaccine, even though it is a good vaccine."

The results, which the hospital said were the first of its kind in the world, were preliminary and not yet published.

Israel was the fastest country to roll out initial vaccinations against COVID-19 a year ago and last month began offering a fourth shot or another booster to the most vulnerable and high-risk groups.

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Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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