MONDAY, Aug. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A third dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine gives four times greater protection against COVID-19 infection and is five to six times more effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization in seniors than just two doses are, new data from the Israeli health ministry shows.
The study assessed patients 10 days after they received their third dose, and the findings were published by the ministry on Sunday, the Washington Post reported.
Israel approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people aged 60 and older late last month, and last week the government lowered the age of eligIbility to 40. About 1.4 million of the country's 9.3 million people have received third doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Nearly 80% of Israel's population has received two doses, but about 1 million eligible people still haven't been vaccinated and the country is struggling with a fourth wave driven by the Delta variant, the Post reported.
Israel's Health Ministry on Monday reported a total of 67,510 coronavirus infections, the highest numbers since January. Numbers for those hospitalized and in serious condition with coronavirus have also risen, to 670.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has repeatedly urged unvaccinated people and those eligible for a booster dose to get their shots, got his third shot on Friday.
"Israel has a major advantage today because we are world pioneers in using the third vaccination, and we have a better understanding about the rate at which the previous vaccinations are waning, and what we need to do, when we need to do it, and even for what ages," Bennett at the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Post reported.
"My advice to every world leader today is: start the third vaccination straight away, don't wait. Give it five months from the second vaccination, otherwise you will have false illusions about protection."
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.