Booster COVID-19 vaccine shots give an estimated 70 percent to 75 percent protection against mild disease from the new Omicron variant, according to the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA), citing initial findings from a real-world study.
The findings released on Friday are some of the earliest data on the protection against Omicron outside of lab studies, which have shown reduced neutralising activity against Omicron.
The early data suggest that while Omicron could greatly reduce protection against mild disease from an initial two-dose vaccination course, boosters restored the protection to an extent.
“These early estimates should be treated with caution but they indicate that a few months after the second jab, there is a greater risk of catching the Omicron variant compared to Delta strain,” Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA said on Friday, adding that protection against severe disease was expected to remain higher.
“The data suggest this risk is significantly reduced following a booster vaccine, so I urge everyone to take up their booster when eligible.”
when boosted with a dose of Pfizer vaccine, there was about 70 percent protection against symptomatic infection for people who initially received AstraZeneca, and about 75 percent protection for those who received Pfizer.
That compares with estimated protection against infection from Delta following a booster of about 90 percent.
The agency also said scientists do not know how effective the vaccines will be in preventing severe disease in people exposed to the variant, though it is expected to be “significantly higher” than protection against mild infections.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization expressed concerns that rich countries spooked by the emergence of the Omicron variant could step up the hoarding of COVID-19 vaccines and strain global supplies again, complicating efforts to stamp out the pandemic. (Foreign Agencies)