The third time’s the charm, I guess? Two doses of the BioNTech and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine may not be enough to protect against the Omicron strain, the companies recently warned, but they stressed it was “still effective” after a third jab.
As per PhilStarLife.com, this announcement was made on the heels of the discussions that the new variant is better at evading vaccine-trained immunity than those before it. Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine “is still effective in preventing COVID-19, also against Omicron, if it has been administered three times”. But they warned that “the Omicron variant is probably not sufficiently neutralized after two doses.”
What does this mean, exactly? This finding by BioNTech and Pfizer reinforces the need for everyone to get booster shots as protection from Omicron.
A lot has yet to be found out about the newest variant. For now, it poses higher infection risks to people who have already had the virus or been vaccinated than previous variants, and there is a preliminary indication it could cause milder disease.
However, even if it is confirmed to be less severe than previous variants, the variant is likely even more transmissible than Delta, meaning it could reach and thus sicken more people.
In order to protect people from the threat of Omicron, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said that reducing the time required between second and third doses of the vaccine was the “right way to go” to increase protection through the winter.
The vaccine-makers said that an Omicron-specific version of the jab, currently in development by BioNTech, would be ready for delivery by March, pending regulatory approval. The decision to switch production to the tailored vaccine would depend on Omicron’s spread.
Given that the country has been enjoying a steady decrease in new cases, it’s nice to know steps are already being made to contain Omicron’s spread.
Art Macky Arquilla