Early data from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center showed that an additional booster of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX) led to a fivefold increase in antibodies one week after receipt of the vaccine.
Pfizer had earlier announced that a third dose of the vaccine increased antibody levels 25-fold compared to a two-dose primary series.
Pfizer and BioNTech, along with their competitor Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA), continue to develop an omicron-specific version of their mRNA vaccine.
The prospect of a fourth dose of the original vaccine for immunocompetent people may be more controversial than a third.
While Israel has begun administering a fourth dose to some individuals, the head of the French vaccination program, Dr. Alain Fischer, said there was insufficient evidence at present to recommend an additional vaccine dose. France could decide in February or March whether to back a fourth vaccine dose for the general public.
U.S. officials have yet to signal their intent to back a fourth dose for the general public, but CDC has recommended a fourth dose for some immunocompromised individuals.
Australia has authorized a fourth dose for the immunocompromised.
South Korea and Germany are also considering a fourth dose for high-risk individuals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized booster programs. The organization has argued that the officials should prioritize vaccinating unvaccinated individuals in the developing world over providing additional doses to those in wealthier countries.
The world could “see strain-specific vaccines that could be viewed as a booster, a strain-specific booster, on top of getting vaccinated with the vaccines that were designed against the original SARS CoV-2,” said Dr. David Aronoff of the Indiana University School of Medicine in an interview with MedPage Today.