A study from researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that, over time, two doses of an mRNA vaccine do about as much good at protecting against the omicron variant as no shot at all.
However, the study, published this month in the Journal of American Medicine, also found that three vaccine doses did offer protection against omicron.
The research indicated that after about five to six months of getting the first two doses of an mRNA vaccine — the kind offered by Pzifer and Moderna — there was little protection against omicron, said Mark G. Thompson, a CDC epidemiologist, according to The Washington Post.
“That’s the bad news,” Thompson said.
“The good news is that for people who received a third booster dose, the effectiveness of three doses is very high and protects against moderately severe and severe disease. This is among the first data that really shows the actual level of protection in the United States.”
The study “really shows the importance of getting a booster dose,” said Emma Accorsi, who was a co-author of the study, according to The Associated Press.
Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine was not as effective as Moderna’s vaccine, the researchers wrote.
In summing up the study, Just the News noted that the CDC said “protection against infection wanes to something undetectable,” and “we do not see that the risk of infection is increased” after the protective window from the vaccine ends.
Todd Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University, seized upon the study in a tweet.
“Still more confirmation that Pfizer and Moderna’s CEOs know what they are talking about when they state that 2 doses of vax provides insignificant (at best) protection against Omicron,” he wrote.
Still more confirmation that Pfizer and Moderna’s CEOs know what they are talking about when they state that 2 doses of vax provides insignificant (at best) protection against Omicron. Confirms earlier studies (Toronto, Denmark) and country-level data (Scotland, Denmark, UK).
— Todd Zywicki (@ToddZywicki) January 25, 2022
Omicron is “not just an incremental shift of a variant, as Delta was from Alpha, but a fundamentally different challenge,” Zywicki wrote in an email, Just the News reported.
People can “pretend like the vaccines are still providing protection” because the variant is milder, he continued.
The study confirms that “OVERALL vaccine efficacy is zero,” Zywicki told Just the News.
However, the CDC told Just the News something different about its study.
“We see that 2 doses vs. unvaccinated against symptomatic infection with omicron wanes to a number that is not distinguishable from 0 (i.e., our estimates even when negative are not significantly different from 0),” spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund wrote.
“So — and we know that the two doses of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any. The three doses, with the booster, they offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said earlier this month.
As researchers are still trying to determine how much protection was offered by what level of vaccination, Israel appears ready to be the first country to require a fourth shot, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
Israel must grapple with a spike in cases, as well as research that shows a fourth shot vastly increases protection against serious impacts from the coronavirus and opposing research that says a fourth shot will not prevent infection with the omicron variant.
“We are starting to see steep declines in areas that were first peaking, so areas of the northeast — New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut — are really starting to come down,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Jeffrey D. Zients, who heads the administration’s coronavirus response team, claimed that America is “moving toward a time when COVID won’t disrupt our daily lives, where COVID won’t be a constant crisis but something we protect against and treat.”
Amid that came news that a strain of the omicron variant, known as BA.2, has reached the U.S.
Officials said that early data suggests panic would be premature, according to USA Today.
“I don’t think it’s going to cause the degree of chaos and disruption, morbidity and mortality that BA.1 did,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to continue to move to a better place and, hopefully, one where each new variant on the horizon isn’t news.”
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