Booster Recovers Vaccine Protection Lost Against Omicron, U.K. Study Finds

An investigation into the safety and efficacy of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines has discovered that two doses of either vaccine provide only minimal protection against symptomatic illness caused by the Omicron variant, though a booster shot was able to restore protection.

It was discovered in the study, which was published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, that six months after the second dose of the primary vaccination series, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic disease had dropped to approximately 8% from approximately 65 percent. It was shown that the efficiency of the first two doses of the Moderna vaccine had decreased as well, decreasing to approximately 15% from approximately 71 percent over the same time period.

According to the researchers, a booster shot of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine restored protection to levels found after two doses, before protection began to diminish again after approximately two months. Experts point out that two doses of the existing Covid vaccines appear to provide little protection against mild illness caused by the omicron variant, despite the fact that the shots continue to provide excellent protection against severe disease and death. The study was funded by the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency.

As the study authors point out, the findings highlight the necessity of getting a booster injection every year. They also point out that third doses provide a “rapid and substantial” improvement in protection against both mild and severe sickness. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only slightly more than half of people eligible for a booster have received one in the United States.

Omicron “is substantially more likely to induce symptomatic breakthrough infections when compared to delta,” according to John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, who led the research. He was not a participant in the study. The fact that the protection against hospitalization and mortality has been significantly strengthened, he continued, makes this improvement even more significant. And, according to Moore, those who have gotten three doses of the vaccine “still have quite considerable protection” against symptomatic sickness.

From Nov. 27 to Jan. 12, when the omicron form began spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom, the researchers examined more than 1 million persons who had been infected with either the omicron or the delta variant of HIV. It only looked at whether or not persons acquired minor disease, not whether or not they experienced serious consequences such as hospitalization. Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines were used to immunize and enhance the immune systems of the participants.

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According to the study, people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently not approved for use in the United States, experienced a decrease in protection against infection after many months, as well as after obtaining a booster.

Other studies have also discovered that the vaccines may be insufficient for preventing omicron infections, albeit persons who have gotten three doses appear to have the best protection against the infection. Furthermore, studies have shown that two doses of a vaccine should still provide a high level of protection against serious sickness, hospitalization, and even death in the majority of cases.

A related research, published on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that while two doses of the Pfizer vaccine did not provide as good protection against an omicron infection as one dose did, the shots did keep the majority of children out of the hospital.

In the future, Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, believes that immunity produced by a previous infection or vaccination may not be as effective at protecting against mild disease as previously believed.

According to Offit, who was not involved in the current research, “we have characterized this virus as one in which there is zero tolerance for dissemination as well as zero tolerance for asymptomatic or slightly symptomatic infection.” According to the CDC, “unless we can embrace the idea that people will be walking around somewhat sick, even if they have been vaccinated, we will not go to the endemic stage.”

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About the Author: brad

Brad is lead editor and content writer at HubCrave, and has invested in online properties since 2021. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh.

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