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A health worker prepares a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in Modi'in, Israel, in October. Photo: Gil Cohen Magen/Xinhua via Getty Images

Israel started a trial of a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine Monday, becoming what's believed to be the first country to study an additional booster dose, according to AP.

Driving the news: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week ordered the rollout of a fourth dose of the vaccine to certain individuals in response to the threat of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

  • A Health Ministry panel recommended fourth doses for residents aged over 60, medical workers and those with compromised immune systems, but the recommendation still needs final approval, per Reuters.

Details: Fourth doses were given to 150 health workers who received Pfizer-BioNTech boosters at least four months ago, according to the New York Times.

  • The Times noted that it's unclear whether the Health Ministry would approve fourth doses before the study is completed.

The big picture: Israel has reported more than 22,000 coronavirus cases and at least 53 deaths from the virus in the past 28 days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Go deeper: What to expect from America's third year of COVID

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

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