NIH Director Collins says Israeli data on Covid boosters is impressive, says it shows ten-fold reduction in infections


A patient receives his booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) at an Oakland County Department of Health vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on August 24, 2021 in Southfield, Michigan.

Émilie Elconin | Getty Images

National Institutes of Health Director Dr Francis Collins called Israel’s data on Covid-19 booster injections “impressive”, noting that they have reduced the number of infections by ten for people who have received a third dose.

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Israel began administering boosters in late July to people over 60, giving scientists more time to examine their ability to fight Covid and boost the waning effectiveness of the initial round of doses. Collins’ comments on Thursday came just a day after the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid recall for people at high risk, including anyone 65 and older.

“Without tilting my hand too much, I will say that the data is really impressive, that boosters actually allow a substantial reduction in infections,” Collins said during a discussion on Covid hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Like a ten-fold reduction just within 12 days of this recall, and also a reduction in serious illnesses, which concerns us the most.”

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Collins added that Israeli data showed an approximately twelve-fold reduction in severe Covid cases as the country began to experience more revolutionary cases. Pfizer reported on August 25 that recipients of its third doses experienced a three-fold increase in antibodies.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of medical authorities that provide advice to the agency, will vote on Thursday on whether to approve the FDA’s recall decision. The panel began a two-day series of booster presentations on Wednesday to give experts and the public a chance to hear more data ahead of the final vote.

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