Two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines are significantly less effective at preventing omicron compared to previous variants of the coronavirus, scientists have found.
Researchers do remain optimistic that a booster shot would improve immunity against the new, highly transmissible variant. In a new study announced on Monday, researchers from the University of Oxford tested blood samples of people 28 days after their second dose of either vaccine.
The study examined the response of the body’s antibodies to the Omicron variant 28 days after receiving a final dose of a COVID vaccine. The study found there was a “substantial fall” in the neutralizing antibodies that resisted COVID-19 compared to the immune responses seen against earlier variants.
Recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were examined in the study. The study found that a booster shot of a COVID vaccine increased the body’s resistance against the virus by up to 75%.
Dr. Gavin Screaton, head of the university’s Medical Sciences Division and lead author of the paper, noted that the results should be encouraging for those considering getting inoculated with a booster.
“Whilst there is no evidence for increased risk of severe disease, or death, from the virus amongst vaccinated populations, we must remain cautious, as greater case numbers will still place a considerable burden on healthcare systems,” said Screaton in a statement announcing the study.
President Joe Biden has encouraged more Americans to seek either their first dose of a COVID vaccine or a booster for those who are fully vaccinated.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BOSTON GLOBE
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