Jerusalem– Majority of people in Israel who received a third shot of Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 experienced similar side effects or fewer side effects than their second dose, according to a survey.

After being one of the first countries to fully inoculate more than 60 per cent of adults, Israel, on July 12, started offering the third dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for adults aged above 60.

The country has administered a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to more than 240,000 people, Clalit Health Services — a state-mandated health service organisation — said on Sunday. The survey included about 4,500 people of these, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Nearly 88 per cent of the survey respondents said they felt “similar” or “better” compared to how they felt in the days following receiving the second vaccine.

More than 30 per cent reported one or more side effects, 24 per cent reported pain at the site of injection, 6 per cent swelling in the injection area and 1 per cent swelling in the armpit, the report said.

Nearly 15 per cent experienced at least one systemic side effect. People also reported fatigue (9 per cent), feeling generally unwell (6.1 per cent), headaches and muscle pain (4.3 per cent), joint pain (2.1 per cent). Few also reported fever, rashes, difficulty breathing and irregular heartbeat or chest pains.

“Although we do not yet have long-term research on the efficacy and safety of the third dose,” Professor Ran Balicer, Clalit’s chief innovation officer, was quoted as saying.

“These findings continue to point to the benefit of immunisation now, in addition to careful behaviour by older adults and avoiding gatherings in closed spaces during these weeks,” Balicer added.

At the same time, 14 people out of more than 400,000 who were vaccinated with a third shot were infected with coronavirus, the Post said. Among them two who were hospitalised — one in mild condition and the other in moderate condition, according to the Health Ministry.

The individuals were infected seven or more days after receiving the vaccine. The majority were over age 60, but three were under 60 and had received a third dose because they were immunosuppressed.

Israel is trying to halt a new outbreak of the Delta variant and has also launched a campaign calling teenagers over 12 years old to get vaccinated. The country has also signed a deal with the US drug maker Pfizer to receive a new batch of Covid-19 vaccines in August. (IANS)