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Israel creates new study on 4th shot after first study's disappointing results

Study co-authored by Health Ministry heads and used Health Ministry data

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Yudi Sherman

Yudi Sherman

Yudi Sherman

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April 10, 2022

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02:44 AM

Israel creates new study on 4th shot after first study's disappointing results

In December 2021, Israel commissioned the world’s first scientific study on the fourth Pfizer shot.  

Israel has had a running contract with Pfizer since 2020 according to which Israel agreed to foist the COVID vaccines on its population and send the vaccine data to the pharmaceutical company.  In exchange, Pfizer guaranteed Israel priority distribution and a steady supply. 

However, unwilling to wait for the results of the study, the Ministry of Health’s expert advisory panel already signed off on giving the fourth vaccine to over-60s, before the study even began. 

Roughly two weeks later, the study was complete, with disappointing results. 

According to Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, who led the study as Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit at Sheba Medical Center, there was no significant benefit among subjects under retirement age. 

“In terms of the effectiveness of the fourth vaccine – both Pfizer and Moderna – against infection, we found that the infection rates among vaccinated individuals were only slightly lower than those in the control group,” said Regev-Yochay. 

This revelation effectively dashed the Israel government’s hopes of making Israelis take a fourth vaccine dose, which would be done via a harsh vaccine mandate as with the preceding shots. 

Without rolling out the fourth vaccine to the general population, Israel has less data for Pfizer. 

At a meeting last month with Health Ministry heads Nachman Ash and Sharon Alroy-Preis, Regev-Yochay gave her professional opinion that the fourth vaccine – the second booster – is not effective against the new “wave” of COVID-19 nor is it effective against severe illness, as the booster does not provide a high level of antibodies.   

The Ministry of Health officials lashed out at Regev-Yochay so roughly that other members recorded their astonishment. 

One even said that “it is difficult to say a different opinion in the presence of Sharon Alroy-Preis and [Nachman Ash].” 

So the Ministry of Health ordered that a new study be done, this time with Ash and Alroy-Preis as co-authors. The ministry also used its own dubious data for the study. 

This study is a retroactive look at existing data on over-60s and presents a much more glowing review of the fourth dose, which is being hailed by Israeli media.  

But not only was the study sponsored by the same Ministry of Health that had already signed off on the fourth shot, it only studied the effects of the fourth shot against the third shot – and that, at least four months earlier. It did not measure whether someone who is vaccine-free would benefit from four shots. 

Furthermore, while it admitted that the fourth shot gave virtually no protection against contracting COVID-19, it claimed that it does protect against severe illness. 

But even this is short-lived. 

“The results presented here indicate that as compared with three vaccine doses given at least 4 months earlier, a fourth dose provides added short-term protection against confirmed infections and severe illness caused by the omicron variant,” reads the study. 

And slipped in between the lines of the Health Ministry’s study, this: 

“The real-world effectiveness of the fourth dose against confirmed infection and severe illness remains unclear.” 

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