(WXYZ) — As the world deals with the sudden surge of the highly contagious COVID-19 omicron variant, public health experts say vaccine booster shots are the best way to get added protection.
And now, some countries are already considering a second booster shot.
On Monday, Israel became the first country to start testing a fourth dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Israeli health ministry wants to see if this second booster will provide better protection from omicron, especially for the elderly, the immunocompromised and for medical workers.
The study will look at the efficacy and safety of this additional booster shot to determine if it is needed in general. The trial is being done on 150 medical personnel who received their first booster dose in August. Since then, tests show their antibody levels have fallen to low levels.
About 45% of Israel’s population has already received a third dose of vaccine. The final approval for a fourth dose will be up to the health ministry’s director general.
Meanwhile, Germany is also looking at possibly rolling out a fourth dose of a vaccine to its most vulnerable people. Omicron is expected to become the dominant strain in that country over the next few weeks.
Currently, 64.5 million people in this country have received a third vaccine dose or booster shot. Nearly 205 million people have received two doses.
U.S. officials say it’s too early to consider a fourth dose for most people. President Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says they must first determine how long the protection lasts after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine booster shot.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control agrees the third doses are providing durable protection. However, once data is available on the fourth doses, the CDC will review it to see if there might be a need for an additional booster nationally.
But for now, the CDC is urging vaccinated people to get boosted as soon as they are eligible for added protection against omicron. And of course, if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is roll up your sleeve and get the shot now.