The fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine is effective in protecting the elderly against the Omicron variant and lowers their risk of death by 72% compared to those who received only three doses, according to a new study conducted by Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in collaboration with the Health Ministry.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Internal Medicine journal, found that elderly recipients of the fourth dose were 34% more protected against infection than those who received only the third dose at four months previously. Recipients of the fourth dose were also 64-67% less likely to be hospitalized for mild to moderate and severe illness.
Over 40,000 elderly residents took part in the study, including about 24,000 who received the fourth dose and about 20,000 who received the third dose. The participants were residents of about 1,000 geriatric institutions, nursing homes and assisted living facilities that are part of the Health Ministry’s Senior Shield system, according to Prof. Khitam Muhsen of the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University.