While studies on the omicron COVID variant continue, experts stress the importance of vaccines and boosters | Connecticut News


(WFSB) – The delta variant of the coronavirus is still the dominant strain in Connecticut, but experts said that could change as soon as next month.

However, they said the tools to fight virus exist.

A two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination provides just 33% protection against infection by the omicron variant of the coronavirus, but 70% protection against hospitalization, according to a large-scale analysis in South Africa released Tuesday.

Some recent studies suggest some good news. The vaccines, particularly Pfizer and Moderna, are performing well against the omicron variant. Going forward, booster shots will be more important than ever.

“You have to take it very seriously,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The vulnerable people are those that have not been vaccinated.”

Health experts said new data shows vaccines and boosters are even more vital as omicron continues to spread.

“You are still highly protected against severe illness, that’s good, but where omicron is difficult is that even if you had two doses of the vaccine, protection against mild illness isn’t as good,” said Dr. Paul Offit, member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Recent studies offered important information on the vaccines’ efficacy at fighting omicron. For the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, a study from South Africa suggested it’s 33 percent effective at preventing omicron.

Fauci said a booster offers up to 75 percent protection against symptomatic infection.

The South African study on Pfizer also showed vaccinated adults were less likely to be hospitalized.

With Moderna, a U.S. study that hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet suggested the two-dose vaccine’s ability to neutralize omicron was between 49 and 84 times lower than when it faced an earlier variant. However, a booster dose “may substantially reduce this risk.”

Another U.S. study, also not peer-reviewed yet, reported the omicron variant is “markedly resistant” to all three of the country’s vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson.

That’s why health experts said booster shots will be the key to protecting everyone.

“Boost that immunity for at least a period of time because you’re not going to be protected as well against mild illness over time,” Offit said.

Fauci also said people don’t need to cancel their holiday plans. However, he recommended keeping gatherings small and asking guests to get a COVID test before the party. 

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.