Earlier this week, the British government secured a huge deal with Pfizer to prepare for the rollout of booster shots that is set to start next month. They’ve ordered 35 million more doses so that they can ‘future proof’ their vaccination programme.
Meanwhile in Israel, researchers have found that a third jab of the Pfizer vaccine could in fact provide even greater protection against current variants of COVID.
Findings from Israeli study
Israel has been administering the third jab on all those over the age of 60 since 30 July. They have now extended the measure to include over-40s, pregnant women, teachers, and health care workers. As reported by Hindustan Times, the third jabs were given to those who received their second inoculation five months earlier.
Researchers examining the effectiveness of a booster vaccine have found that those over the age of 60 had four times higher protection against COVID ten days after their third inoculation than after the initial two doses. Furthermore, the risk of getting serious illness or being hospitalised also drastically decreased with the third dose. The findings were published by Israel’s Health Ministry and the Prime Minister has encouraged all countries to start their respective booster programmes as soon as possible. He said:
Israel has a major advantage today because we are world pioneers in using the third vaccination, and we have a better understanding about the rate at which the previous vaccinations are waning, and what we need to do, when we need to do it, and even for what ages.
My advice to every world leader today is to start the third vaccination straight away, don't wait.
Give it five months from the second vaccination, otherwise you will have false illusions about protection.
Booster programme in the UK
The World Health Organisation has been strongly against rolling out the third vaccine, at least while other countries are still struggling to get their citizens vaccinated. However UK’s Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that the booster programme will be launched in the UK this year as per the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). A source close to the JCVI told Financial Times that not everyone will be eligible for a third jab in September. They disclosed:
It will probably be a targeted booster programme, which includes specific vulnerable people.
It’s definitely not going to be a blanket thing in September, if at all.