Dr Anthony Fauci in a press conference at the White House, on Tuesday, urged Americans to take the new Covid booster shot after a recent study by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that it offers better protection against symptomatic infection of COVID-19. It is also the first real-world data on the new omicron vaccines.
The study shows that the updated “bivalent” Covid booster shots of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech which target both the omicron strain and the original coronavirus, provide better protection against Covid when compared to the original shots. The booster shot targeting omicron strains, protects against symptomatic infection, depending on prior vaccinations, age, and how long ago the individual took their last vaccine, said the CDC study.
This vaccine was rolled out back in September in a bid to counter the virus as it continues to mutate. “You need to update the protection,” said Fauci. He added that the new booster shot “clearly induces” a better immune response against BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
Speaking at his last briefing before retirement next month Fauci said that his final message from the White House podium is to “get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community.” US’ top health official has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and became central to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study analysed the data collected from over 360,000 people and said that it provides greater benefits to people aged 18-49 years when compared to the older age groups. When the new booster shot was given after eight months or more, the effectiveness compared with the original vaccines differed among age groups, 43 per cent (among people aged 65 years and older), 48 per cent (50-64-year-olds) and 56 per cent (among 18-49 year-olds).
Notably, the effectiveness ranged between 28 to 31 per cent when the booster shots were given two to three months apart. “We think about it as the additional benefit or incremental benefit of getting one more dose, and in this case that one more dose is a bivalent,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles, in the context that overall people were at least 30 to 40 per cent more protected with the new booster shot.
(With inputs from agencies)
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