The first findings on the effectiveness of vaccines against the COVID-19 Omicron variant have been released.
Pfizer and its European partner BioNTech said that a booster shot offers significant protection against Omicron and "neutralizes" the strain.
Two vaccine doses "show significantly reduced neutralization titers" but could protect against severe disease from COVID, the companies said.
The findings come from an initial laboratory study.
According to the companies’ preliminary data, "a third dose provides a similar level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses against wild-type and other variants that emerged before Omicron," the companies said.
“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 the third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “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.”
Said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech: “Broad vaccination and booster campaigns around the world could help us to better protect people everywhere and to get through the winter season.
"We continue to work on an adapted vaccine which, we believe, will help to induce a high level of protection against Omicron-induced COVID-19 disease as well as a prolonged protection compared to the current vaccine.”
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