WHO expert warns of 'over 500k' Covid deaths in Europe by Spring
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According to a new report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), protection against coronavirus wanes with time and that might warrant the need for a third, booster shot. The study investigated the risk of Covid infection from 90 days after people received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It was carried out by the Research Institute of Leumit Health Services in Israel.
Since the pandemic broke out in late 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 1.3 million Covid cases in Israel and more than 8,000 deaths.
The nation was one of the world’s first to roll out a comprehensive vaccine programme in December 2020, which led to a laxation of restrictions earlier this year.
And yet, despite Israel’s best efforts to curb the virus’s spread, there was a significant resurgence of infections since June 2021.
Scientists have long suspected immunity to the virus offered by vaccines dips over time.
The emergence of more transmissible Covid variants such as Delta has also put increased pressure on health services around the globe.
The new study has confirmed that the Pfizer vaccine offers great protection against the virus in the first weeks since being administered.
But the findings also suggest the protection will gradually wane with time for some people.
Countries like the US, UK and Israel are already offering booster shots to certain people in a bid to bolster their immune systems.
In the US, infectious disease official Dr Anthony Fauci has called on the “overwhelming majority” of vaccinated Americans to sign up for a booster shot.
In the UK, booster shots are being offered on the NHS to people aged 40 and over, as well as frontline workers, and people who live and work in care homes.
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The Israeli researchers believe their study could help better inform countries about the need for a third jab and when to have it.
Their study analysed the health records of more than 80,000 adults aged 44 on average.
None of the people had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and were given a PCR test at least three weeks after their second dose of the vaccine.
Of the 80,057 participants, 7,973 or 9.6 percent tested positive for Covid.
Those who tested positive were then matched to negative controls of the same age and ethnicity who were tested within the same week.
The researchers found the rate of positive results for Covid increased with time since the second dose.
For example, they found 1.3 percent of participants of all age groups tested positive within 21 to 89 days after the second dose.
However, the figure increased to 2.4 percent after 90 to 119 days and then 4.6 percent after 120 to 149 days.
The rates further increased to 10.3 percent after 150 to 179 days and 15.5 percent after 180 or more days.
In other words, the researchers determined the risk of infection across all age groups was 2.37-fold higher after 90 to 119 days compared to the initial 90 days after the second dose.
The researchers did, however, admit that their findings may have been skewed by some unknown outside force.
Factors such as household size, population density, or virus strain may have had an impact on the results.
But they were confident that protection against Covid wanes over time after people have received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
They concluded that health officials may have to give booster shoots their due consideration.
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