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The FDA’s decision to limit COVID boosters was no snub to Israel

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Shunning the boosters-for-all approach pioneered in Israel, American health officials seem to have rejected the Vaccination Nation’s wisdom.

After spending hours poring over research about Israel’s policy of universal COVID boosters, the United States Food and Drug Administration has decided not to take this path. Instead, it has recommended a far more narrow deployment of boosters, mostly focused on the elderly.

Has the era of Israeli research being used to guide and inform vaccination practices by the US and other nations suddenly come to an end? Not at all.

Though it hasn’t gone all-out with the Israeli approach, experts stress that the US regulator emulated the Jewish state by approving the booster for the entire demographic that tends to define pandemic success or failure: the elderly and at-risk.

All such US citizens aged 65-plus, as well as some others like health workers, are now to going to receive boosters, after FDA officials surveyed data from Israel which suggests that its national booster campaign has proven to be safe and helped prevent serious disease.

“The important point here is what the FDA did approve, and that, after viewing Israeli data, it acknowledged the importance of boosters,” Prof. Alon Hershko, director of internal medicine at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, told The Times of Israel.

“It isn’t rejecting boosters, but rather addressing boosters step by step, starting with the elderly and at-risk, and planning on proceeding cautiously with others. It’s just how the FDA works — making decisions carefully based on data.”

The top infectious diseases doctor Prof. Ronen Ben-Ami, of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, takes a similar view, insisting that “the main message is that they have given backing to booster doses, not that they have restricted them.”

Indeed, FDA officials made their decision after viewing research published on Wednesday by The New England Journal of Medicine, and after briefings from Israeli officials, including Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry.

The research found that 12........

© The Times of Israel

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