Three new studies Friday showed that the two most preferred COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are far less effective against the Omicron variant of the virus.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical institutions said the effectiveness of two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 declined sharply against both infection and hospitalization after Omicron became dominant in the United States in end of last year. in one of the studies.
Based on facility records in 10 states between August 2021 and January, the researchers calculated that the effectiveness of a second dose within six months against emergency room and emergency room visits plummeted from 86 percent during the Delta variant wave to 52 percent. percent during Omicron. – controlled wave.
This protection dropped even more among those who received the second dose six months earlier, from 76 percent during Delta’s dominance to 38 percent when Omicron became dominant.
Efficacy against hospitalization also decreased by 9% among those who completed their main regimen within six months of hospitalization, and by almost a quarter, to 57%, among those who completed more than six months after the second dose of the initial regimen.
In addition, the researchers found that vaccines provide little protection against infection.
People who receive Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are advised to get two doses of shots, with the second given a few weeks after the first.
The study found that a third dose of the vaccine, or a booster dose, restored most, but not all, protection against infection and hospitalization, although other studies have shown that restored protection begins to decline after a few weeks.
In another study that was not peer-reviewed but was reviewed by CDC officials before publication in the agency’s quasi-journal, another group of scientists looking at data from 25 U.S. jurisdictions calculated that protection against infection declined once Omicron became dominant in the world. country, but the third dose helped prevent infections, especially among people aged 50 and over.
A third study, also completed by CDC investigators and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association after peer review, found that protection against symptomatic infection with the primary regimen of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines declined over time, and protection against infection after the booster dose was significantly lower compared with Omicron compared to Delta.
“While these results provide evidence that 3-dose regimens are protective and that booster doses are more protective than primary series alone, there is a significantly higher [odds ratio] for Omicron suggests that booster doses are less protective against Omicron than against Delta,” the researchers say.
None of the studies discriminated between people with natural immunity from prior infection, who CDC researchers just found had greater protection against delta than vaccinated, unvaccinated, and vaccinated.
“This is a valid question to see how prior infection combined with vaccination works, but that was not our goal in this preliminary brief report,” Mark Thompson, a CDC researcher who helped with the first study, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Other CDC researchers and agency headquarters did not respond to questions asked.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky promoted the research during a virtual briefing Friday, saying they highlighted the importance of getting boosters.
“Protection against infection and hospitalization with the Omicron variant is highest for those who are up to date with their vaccinations, i.e. those who get a booster when they are eligible,” she said.
Dr. David Bulwer, an infectious disease physician at the University of Minnesota who was not involved in the study, told The Epoch Times in an email that the data show that people who have had booster immunizations have a 3- to 15-fold lower risk. infection than without vaccination.
“Vaccines are good, but boosters are even better,” he wrote.
Some others had a different opinion, including Dr. Paul Offit, who is on the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Panel.
Although the available data show that the third dose helps people aged 50 and over resist serious illness, “I still think I’m looking for a study that says that people – young, healthy people – benefit from the third dose in terms of protection from serious illness,” he told The Epoch Times.
The World Health Organization said this week that there is no evidence to support booster doses for healthy teenagers, and some countries have recommended that supplementary shots for the general public be omitted, even though US officials have not only made them available to children 12 and older, but recommend to all people. 12 years and older get one.
“It’s important to get the vaccine because you’re much worse off getting a natural infection than if you weren’t vaccinated,” added Offit, who advised his son not to get a booster at this time. “If you are vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, do you clearly benefit from the third dose? I think the CDC needs to prove them. And if they can’t prove it, then withdraw this recommendation for a healthy young person, or at least make it “should be considered a recommendation.”