Israel’s national coronavirus czar on Saturday called for the country to begin making preparations to eventually administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
“Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,” Salman Zarka told Kan public radio.
He did not specify when fourth vaccine shots could eventually be administered.
Zarka also said that the next booster shot may be modified to better protect against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, such as the highly infectious Delta strain.
“This is our life from now on, in waves,” he said.
Zarka made similar comments in an interview with The Times of Israel last month.
“It seems that if we learn the lessons from the fourth wave, we must consider the [possibility of subsequent] waves with the new variants, such as the new one from South America,” he said at the time.
“And thinking about this and the waning of the vaccines and the antibodies, it seems every few months — it could be once a year or five or six months — we’ll need another shot.”
Zarka said that he expects that by late 2021 or early 2022, Israel will be giving shots that are specially adapted to cope better with variants.
Israel — the first country to officially offer a third dose — began its COVID booster campaign on August 1, rolling it out to all those over the age of 60. It then gradually dropped the eligibility age, expanding it last week to everyone age 12 and up who received the second shot at least five months ago.
As of Friday, over 2.5 million Israelis had received the third dose.