Booster vaccination is 90 percent effective in preventing Omicron hospitalizations: CDC
Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shots are 90 percent effective in preventing Americans from becoming seriously ill and ending up in the hospital because of the Omicron variant, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Friday.
The additional doses were also 82 percent effective in avoiding emergency room and urgent care visits associated with the highly transmissible variant, according to the data.
Protection from just two doses was lower — 57 percent for hospitalizations and 38 percent for ED or emergency visits — particularly when six months had passed since the second dose, the data showed.
The study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and visits between August 2021 and January 2022.
It was one of three studies released Friday by CDC researchers that provided evidence that COVID-19 vaccines exist against Omicron.
The research is the first major US study looking at vaccine protection against Omicron.
Overall, the studies bolstered previous research from South Africa and the UK which found the vaccines against Omicron were less effective than previous COVID variants – but that significantly boosts protection.
For emergency room visits or urgent cases, protection was 94 percent during the delta wave — compared to 82 percent during Omicron.
The second study, also published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, focused on COVID case and death rates in 25 states from last April through Christmas.
Those who received a booster shot had the highest protection against COVID when the Delta strain was dominant and Omicron took over.
The third study, led by CDC researchers but published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at people who tested positive at more than 4,600 testing sites across the country between December 10 and January 1.
It found that a booster shot against Omicron was about 67 percent effective compared to those who were not vaccinated.
Two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not provide significant protection against Omicron, the study found.
“It really goes to show how important it is to get a booster dose,” said Emma Accorsi, one of the study’s authors.
As of Friday, 63 percent of the US population was fully vaccinated against COVID — but only 39 percent of them had received a booster shot, the latest CDC data shows.
With postal wires