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The booster dose of the corona vaccine reduces the risk of getting sick 10 times compared to those vaccinated twice

This is according to a study by researchers from the Ministry of Health and the universities and hospitals in Israel that examined data on over one million Israelis aged sixty and over who were vaccinated with two vaccines at most in March 2021. The comparison was between those who received only the two original vaccine injections and those who also received the third vaccine

Corona vaccine in Israel. Illustration:
Corona vaccine in Israel. Illustration:

On July 30, 2021, a third corona vaccine was approved in Israel using the messenger RNA method of Pfizer and Biotech to people aged 60 and over who received a second dose of the vaccine at least five months earlier. The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of the third vaccine on the rate of corona morbidity, and especially the rate of patients whose condition is severe.

On September 15, the New England Journal of Medicine published a broad study that includes data on over a million Israelis. The research was led by Amit Huppert from Sheba Hospital, Ron Milo Winon Bar-On from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Sharon Elrai Price and Nachman Ash from the Ministry of Health, with Yair Goldberg from the Technion, Micah Mandel from the Hebrew University, Lawrence Friedman from Sheba, Vanir Kalkstein and Barak Mizrahi from the Institute for Applied Research in Computational Health .

The researchers examined data in the period between July 30 (the start of the impulse vaccination campaign) and August 31, 2021, from the Israeli Ministry of Health's database regarding 1,137,804 people who were 60 years of age or older who were fully vaccinated (ie received two doses of BNT162b2) at least five months earlier. The researchers compared the rate of diagnosis of Covid-19 and in particular the rate of severe patients between those who received a booster shot at least 12 days before, and those who did not receive the booster shot. In other words, the population included those previously vaccinated in both doses, and the comparison was between those who received a booster shot (third vaccine dose) and those who had not yet done so. No comparison was made with unvaccinated.

The research findings

The researchers write that at least 12 days after the booster dose, the rate of patients diagnosed among the group vaccinated with the booster shot was 11.3-12.3 times lower compared to those who did not receive the third vaccine until that time. The rate of severe morbidity was 19.5 to 20.5 times lower compared to those who did not receive the booster injection. In addition, when comparing within the vaccinated group, those who passed more than 12 days since the third vaccination, their morbidity rate was lower than those who were nevertheless infected from this group after 4-6 days, meaning that the antibodies continue to build during this period.

The conclusion - in the population of people aged 60 and over who received two doses of the vaccine at least five months earlier, the lowest level of morbidity was among those who received a booster shot of the vaccine.

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Sheba Medical Center. All authors contributed to the writing and critical review of the manuscript, approved the final version and made the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The Israeli Ministry of Health and Pfizer have a data sharing agreement, but only the final results of this study were shared.

Tomorrow, Friday, September 17, the FDA will discuss whether to approve the administration of the third dose in the United States. The discussion will also present the data that emerged Serological test of Sheba Hospital which currently indicates a significant increase in antibody levels in those who received the boost dose, A survey of general health services which shows that the third dose does not have an abnormal rate of side effects, and of course the new data on a 10-fold drop in the risk of infection.

For the full study

3 תגובות

  1. Full disclosure: I am not an expert in the field of medicine. I would appreciate it if possible explanations were given as an answer.
    Here is a point I found in the article that casts doubt on the true effect of the booster dose.
    First, this is a non-random experiment (of course). It is likely that there are differences between the group who receive the booster vaccine and the others (for example, it is very possible that those who take the booster dose avoid staying in closed places more than those who do not). Therefore, the selection of the population plays an important role in trying to minimize the bias (for example matching ages, sectors, origin, risk group, etc.). There is no such adjustment in the article: note the large gaps, for example, in the age groups and the Arab population.
    To overcome this (in my opinion) the authors chose to use possion regression. The model accepts all the parameters and tries to predict the chance of getting sick with Corona.
    The point is that the model shows a clear tendency for a low chance of contracting corona for those who received the booster dose - and the effect (3 times) was already visible on the first day when the vaccine should not have any effect. The authors refer to this (really briefly!) and claim a change in behavior during receiving the vaccine.
    In my opinion, this is a substantial gap between the groups and a real bias in the reported results. My explanation is that the result on the first day reflects adhesion several days before and it is very possible that it represents a real gap between the groups. The moderate decrease in the graph in the following days (in the booster group) can be attributed to a possible increase in morbidity as a result of exposure to many people during the vaccination or from excess corona testing (for example, more people were tested after experiencing symptoms of the vaccine and were found to be positive).
    If there is truth in the claim, then the effect of giving the booster is 3 times smaller than reported.

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