Fourth COVID-19 shots increase antibody levels in patients for some 13 weeks, according to a new peer-reviewed Israeli study, with the increased protection against infection alone seemingly fading by 15 weeks.

The study focused on first-generation Pfizer vaccines, not the more recent ones that have been updated for Omicron and are being phased into circulation in Israel.

Importantly, it is unclear what antibody levels mean for protection against serious illness, as the study did not look at that metric. The vaccine may well offer defense against severe forms of the disease for longer than the three months in which antibody levels are high.

Still, study authors at Sheba Medical Center said the research should prompt healthcare providers to time booster campaigns wisely. As added protection against infection peaks for a relatively short period, boosters should be given when spates of high infection are on the horizon, or when specific patients are facing circumstances that heighten their risk, they argued.

“With protection clearly waning after four months, individuals and health systems must plan their booster timing wisely,” said Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of infectious diseases at Sheba and one of the lead authors.

They “should take into consideration not only surges in infection but also personal medical conditions, upcoming events and travel, and higher-risk seasons.”

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by Sheba researchers along with experts from the Health Ministry and Dr. Michal Canetti of Columbia University, was based on 6,000 Sheba employees and volunteers.

Some COVID experts have responded to the study by emphasizing that while the boost in antibodies and infection reduction seems short, it has value. Bar Ilan University epidemiologist Prof Michael Edelstein, who wasn’t involved in the study, told The Times of Israel: “Although the timeframes are quite short, they may be enough to protect vulnerable individuals during higher risk times like peaks of transmission.”

The study found that antibodies’ rise after fourth shots was less than after third shots.

The researchers said they couldn’t report on severe outcomes, as there were none among participants.

Edelstein said that it illustrates that fourth dose benefits are “more transient” than those of previous doses. However, he stressed that fourth doses can “still be critical to protect those vulnerable at times of high risk such as increased circulation of the virus.”

He said that more research is needed to provide more detail, such as how fourth doses impact severe illness. “We cannot fully assess the effectiveness of vaccines only by measuring antibody levels and infection rates — vaccines work through a range of mechanisms and we don’t have the full picture yet.”

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Israeli news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - 4th COVID shot boosts antibodies for 13 weeks, Israeli study finds - Nathan Jeffay
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

4th COVID shot boosts antibodies for 13 weeks, Israeli study finds

15 9 19
10.11.2022

Fourth COVID-19 shots increase antibody levels in patients for some 13 weeks, according to a new peer-reviewed Israeli study, with the increased protection against infection alone seemingly fading by 15 weeks.

The study focused on first-generation Pfizer vaccines, not the more recent ones that have been updated for Omicron and are being phased into circulation in Israel.

Importantly, it is unclear what antibody levels mean for protection against serious illness, as the study did not look at that metric. The vaccine may well offer defense against severe forms of the disease for longer than the three months in which antibody levels are high.

Still, study authors at Sheba Medical Center said the research should prompt healthcare providers to time booster campaigns wisely. As added protection against infection peaks for a relatively short period, boosters should be given when spates of high infection are on the horizon, or when specific patients are facing circumstances that heighten their risk, they argued.

“With protection clearly waning after four months, individuals and health systems must plan their booster timing wisely,” said........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play