4 News Now Q&A: Does your vaccine protect you against omicron?

Your Questions Answered

Q: Does your vaccine protect you against omicron?

A: According to leaders with the World Health Organization, a new study from South Africa suggests the Pfizer vaccine is only 33 percent effective at preventing omicron.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci says a booster offers up to 75 percent protection against symptomatic infection.

The South African study on Pfizer also showed vaccinated adults were less likely to be hospitalized or die from the variant.

With Moderna, an early study from the United States revealed the vaccine’s ability to neutralize omicron was between 49 and 84 times lower than when it faced an earlier variant.

Scientists say that is where a booster dose really becomes crucial to reducing risk.

“If you look at the vaccines that we’ve been using, they were directed against the original ancestral strain of he virus. Yet, when we got alpha and beta and delta, we were able to get an immune response that was good enough and high enough that it covered those very well,” Dr. Fauci said. “And we’re starting to see data now with omicron, the same thing, particularly if you get boosted, you elevate that diminished response to a level that would be protective. That’s the reason why we’re seeing absolutely get boosted and at this point, we don’t believe you need an omicron specific boost. We just need to get the boost with what you got originally for the primary vaccination.”

Dr. Fauci also says among seniors, the rate of getting COVID is ten times lower for those who got the extra dose versus people their same age who did not, or who were not vaccinated at all.

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