Israel's Ministry of Health has announced that a clear majority of its experts committee for the treatment of Covid-19 has voted in favor of administering a third Pfizer vaccination dose. There was a dispute in the committee as to whether the third jab against Covid-19 should be available to all people over 70 or over 60.
The committee's recommendation will now be decided upon in the coming few days by Ministry of Health director general Prof. Nachman Ash. If approved, the Ministry of Health will leave the decision on whether to take up a third vaccination to each individual in consultation with their doctor.
The idea of the booster vaccination has gained momentum as data from both Pfizer and Israel's Ministry of Health show that the effectiveness of the first two vaccinations has waned over time and following the emergence of the now dominant Delta variant. Most of Israel's elderly received their second vaccination in January and the belief is that a booster jab will significantly increase antibodies.
The latest Ministry of Health figures show that the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Israel is continuing to spread. 2,165 new cases were found yesterday, a slight dip from 2,267 on Tuesday, the highest number of new cases since March, and up from 1,344 week-on-week. The number of serious cases has risen to 159 with 26 people on ventilators. Three people have died from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours bringing the total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 6,463.
A third Pfizer jab has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and such approval would be subject to a successful trial. Pfizer plans embarking on a trial to administer third vaccinations to 10,000 volunteers.
Pfizer has a serious interest in allowing third jabs to be administered in Israel and is likely to send sufficient doses, even though many worldwide are still begging for a first dose, because the real world data may allow it to circumvent a clinical trial.
Dr. Ehud Marom, the chairman and CEO of Mapi Pharma, which has developed a slow release version of Teva's multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, supports the idea of a third Covid-19 vaccination dose, but not without FDA approval.
He said, "There is a question of principle on whether we should now procure an expensive vaccination from Pfizer at a high price before it is approved or invest that money in other health and education options and wait for FDA approval.
Dr. Marom added, "If Pfizer wants this data before the approval, they should pay the State of Israel $100 million for its agreement to the trial and receive the agreement of the participants and recompense them, and ensure the supply of the vaccination free of charge for a year to the State of Israel."
Other experts disagree and say that it is in Israel's interests to be able to offer a booster dose.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 29, 2021
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