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Experts: COVID boosters for at-risk groups may help avert new variants

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As the world worries about the prospect of new coronavirus variants, Israel’s booster shot policy may help to address an important vulnerability.

Jerusalem blazed a trail two weeks ago, announcing that most immunocompromised people could receive a third shot of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

Only France had such a policy before Israel, and only a few other countries have followed so far. As the immunocompromised have started heading to clinics, coverage has focused on the protection it would give to this at-risk population.

But boosters to this limited sector of the population could actually help to address a vulnerability faced by all, according to Dr. Oren Kobileer, a variants expert from Tel Aviv University’s school of clinical microbiology and immunology.

“It’s believed that new variants arise when immunocompromised people are infected,” Kobileer tells The Times of Israel. This happens because the virus stays in such people’s bodies for longer than normal, creating conditions under which it is prone to mutation.

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© The Times of Israel

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