Second COVID vaccine booster significantly lowers death rate, Israeli study shows

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89-year-old Yodit Ben Ari receives a fourth dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine following a vaccination party after Israel approved a second booster shot for the immunocompromised, people over 60 years and medical staff in a retirement home in Netanya, Israel January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM, March 27 (Reuters) - Senior citizens who received a second booster of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination had a 78% lower mortality rate from the disease than those who got one only, a study from Israel showed on Sunday.

The country's largest healthcare provider, Clalit Health Services, said the 40-day study included more than half a million people aged 60 to 100.

Some 58% of participants had received a second booster - or two shots in addition to the basic two-shot regimen. The remainder had received only one booster. Researchers recorded 92 deaths among the first group and 232 deaths among the second, smaller group.

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"The main conclusion is that the second booster is lifesaving," said Ronen Arbel, Health Outcomes Researcher at Clalit and Sapir College.

The report was issued as a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. The research excluded people who received rival Moderna's vaccine and those who had taken oral anti-COVID therapy.

Israeli health officials have put out a number of studies on vaccine efficacy throughout the pandemic that have impacted policymaking in other countries.

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Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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