The fourth coronavirus vaccine has shown to offer little protection against the coronavirus, a new study released by Sheba Medical Center has shown.

The study, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, examines the efficacy of the fourth coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna. The interim results released show that the vaccine offers little to no protection against contracting the virus when compared to young and healthy individuals vaccinated with three doses.

However, the vaccine did prove to provide moderate protection against symptomatic infection among young and healthy individuals in comparison to those inoculated three times.

“Among the approximate 600 participants, 270 of whom received either a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine, we found no differences, both in terms of IgG antibody levels and in terms of neutralizing antibody levels, which reached a level similar to that measured a month after the third dose was administered,” said Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the Infection Prevention and Control Unit at Sheba Medical Center and head researcher of the study.

She also noted that in terms of the effectiveness of the fourth vaccine against infection – both of Pfizer and Moderna – they found that the infection rates among vaccinated individuals were only slightly lower than those in the control group.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (purple) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. (credit: NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

“However, it should be emphasized that the third dose is extremely important for anyone who has not yet contracted COVID-19, and the fourth dose is most likely important for populations with risk factors for which a fourth vaccine would protect from serious illness.

“This study is added to a series of studies led by Sheba with the aim of providing a scientific basis for managing a pandemic that has wreaked havoc around the globe,” concluded Regev-Yochay.

“Thanks to the cohort at Sheba and the plethora of data we have accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic, we continue to lead international studies which shed light on the behavior of the virus and the effectiveness of vaccines and serve decision makers in determining health policy in Israel and around the world.”

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