Protection from the fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine appears to wane quickly, according to a new study.
The news: A new study — published in the New England Journal of Medicine — reviewed data from more than 1.25 million vaccinated people in Israel.
- These people were 60 or older and had been vaccinated in the first three months of 2022 — when the omicron variant was dominant.
What they found: Per CNN, the experts found that the rate of severe COVID-19 symptoms and infections in the fourth week of the testing period “was lower than in people who got only three doses by a factor of 3.5.”
- Protection against severe COVID infection didn’t appear to drop off in the first six weeks after a fourth vaccine shot, though, per CNN.
The bigger picture: Scientists and health experts are still debating whether a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot is effective at stopping COVID-19, the Deseret News’ Ashley Nash writes.
- Scientists are concerned that a fourth shot could be a precedent for more shots, which could be difficult to keep up with on a national scale.
- There’s an ongoing strategy idea to build vaccines to target specific variants.
- Too many booster shots could weaken our immunity, forcing us to rely on them, one medical expert told the Seattle Times.
What they’re saying: “There is a certain diminishing return by giving the same vaccine over and over. We have had enough evolution of this virus that it would make sense to want to try to cover some of the genetic diversity that has been introduced into the mix,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told NPR.