Booster shot reportedly increases antibody effectiveness by 25%
Pfizer and BioNTech have high hopes about the effectiveness their COVID-19 vaccine booster shot has at protecting against the omicron variant.
The companies claim a preliminary lab study shows the booster shot increases a person’s antibody protection level by 25% when compared to those who only received the first two jabs.
The omicron variant has caused concern globally after a preliminary lab study conducted by scientists in South Africa found it is able to significantly evade antibodies in fully vaccinated individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
People who have only received the first two shots, meanwhile, have been shown to have less protection against the omicron variant.
“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a joint statement with BioNTech.
Pfizer’s CEO also reiterated that the best way to end the global health crisis is to make sure as many people as possible get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Bourla said.
There is a concern among public health officials that cases of COVID-19 could spike during the coming winter months, when people are more likely to gather indoors.
The companies say they plan to have gathered enough data by month’s end to know for sure whether a booster shot is enough protection against omicron, or if they will need to develop a new vaccine.
Either way, Pfizer and BioNTech say they plan to have a separate vaccine aimed specifically at targeting the omicron variant by March 2022.
“My estimate is that we will be having regular the appearance of different variants, and that’s why we are preparing for that for months,” Bourla told CNBC. “So every time that you have any variant, and there will be more I’m certain, or it’s very highly like, we will be monitoring to see if there’s something that we need to do.”