[VACCINEWatch]: Would people end up needing four booster shots a year until 2024?

By December 21, 2021 COVID-19, Health, Vaccine

We came across this message being forwarded on Telegram:

The author of the message makes several claims:

  1. Israel has started giving out the 4th booster vaccine shot
  2. The UK has reduced the intervals between the shots from 6 to 3 months
  3. Pfizer “predicted COVID to end in 2024”

The author then concludes with a prediction – that people would end up needing “4 jabs in 1 year till 2024”, and that would equate to 12 more shots from 2022 to 2024.

Let’s take a look at each claim made by the author and see if there is any truth in them.

Claim #1: Israel has started giving out the 4th booster vaccine shot

This claim was recently fact-checked by Newsweek, after Eli David, an artificial intelligence researcher and co-founder of the Deep Instinct cybersecurity firm, tweeted that Israel “announced today it will soon approve the 4th vaccine shot”.

According to the factcheck, other Twitter accounts have even stated that Israel had already started issuing the fourth vaccine shot, with some calling the second booster “experimental”.

However, Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of the immunology laboratory at Bar-Ilan University and member of the advisory committee for clinical trials on COVID vaccines for Israel’s health ministry had clarified with Newsweek on 6 December that in Israel, they are currently “considering the fourth dose only for immunocompromised people” and that “this is not for the whole healthy population and it has no influence on the Green Pass rules for the population in Israel in general”.

In a more recent article on The Times of Israel published on 14 December, we read that Prof. Galia Rahav, head of Sheba Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Unit and a member of the government’s pandemic advisory panel, said that “some Israelis with weakened immune systems are likely to be offered fourth vaccine shots within weeks”. It is also noted that “unlike the third shots, which were rolled out across the board to all immunocompromised Israelis as soon as they were deployed, fourth shots are likely to be given sparingly”.

Therefore, while some immunocompromised Israelis might be offered a fourth vaccine shot within weeks, it is false that Israel has started giving out the 4th booster vaccine shot to the whole population.

Claim #2: The UK has reduced the intervals between the shots from 6 to 3 months

When we did a check on this claim, we found a report on The Guardian that states that the UK’s minimum gap for booster jabs will be halved from six months to three, after the government had “accepted advice from its vaccines watchdog to speed up the programme to limit the spread of the Omicron variant”.

Health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that all adults would be offered the jab, and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) also advised that “severely immunocompromised people should be eligible for boosters three months after their primary course of three vaccinations”.

When we did a check on the National Health Service’s (NHS) website, we see that individuals would be able to get their booster shots after 3 months from their 2nd vaccine shot:

Therefore, it is true that the UK had recently reduced the intervals between the shots from 6 to 3 months.

Claim #3: Pfizer “predicted COVID to end in 2024”

In a report on Reuters, we read that on 17 December, Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten told investors that “the company expects some regions to continue to see pandemic levels of COVID-19 cases over the next year or two”, while others will “transition to ‘endemic’ with low, manageable caseloads during that same time period”.

Pfizer forecasts that “by 2024, the disease should be endemic around the globe”.

According to the report, the forecast came after the emergence of the Omicron variant, which has “more than 50 mutations compared with the original version of the virus” and has “reduced the effectiveness of two doses of the vaccine against infection”.

It is important to note that while it is true that Pfizer forecasts that the disease will be endemic by 2024, it is misleading and false that Pfizer said that COVID-19 will “end” (i.e. cease to exist) in 2024.

Will people would end up needing “4 jabs in 1 year till 2024”?

It is important to note that since COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use, it has never been mandated that individuals are required to be vaccinated, let alone be forced to take booster shots.

While the UK did reduce the intervals between shots from 6 to 3 months, it is also important to note that this is merely a recommendation that individuals can choose to adhere to.

There is also no indication at time of publication that there would be a need for regular boosters, and that they would work out to “4 jabs in 1 year till 2024”.

Therefore, the prediction that individuals would need “12 more shots from 2022 to 2024” is likely false.

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