A diagram shows vaccine protection against Omicron after one, two or three shots.
The protection is high against serious illness and is strengthened with a third shot according to official British statistics.
The protection against getting sick more easily is much lower, even if a booster increases it.
A new chart shows how much protection is provided by one, two and three doses of vaccine against the Omicron coronavirus variant.
It was published Friday by the UK Health Safety Agency, which draws on data collected during the country’s Omicron rise in late December.
It found that although vaccines protect much less against capturing COVID-19 with Omicron than with Delta, the protection against hospitalization remains high.
Protection against hospitalization diminished over time after a second dose, but a booster shot increased it again, the figures showed.
The study was based on data collected between November 27 and December 24, 2021. It provides the first formal assessments of the effectiveness of booster vaccines against serious illness, Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, tweeted Friday.
Here are the statistics.
For hospitalization (all vaccine brands combined):
One dose: 52% reduced risk of hospitalization compared to unvaccinated.
Two doses: 72% reduction within 24 weeks after the second dose.
Two doses (longer term): 52% reduced risk over 24 weeks of the second dose.
Three doses: 88% reduced risk two weeks after the third shot.
For symptomatic disease (all vaccine brands combined):
One dose: 26% reduction in the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 within four weeks of the first dose.
Two doses: 18% reduction within 24 weeks after the second dose.
Two doses (longer term): 2% reduction over 24 weeks of the second dose.
Three doses: 63% reduced risk two weeks after the third shot.
As the data were from the UK, they are not entirely valid for the US, which uses a different set of vaccines.
Most elderly people in the UK received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the US has not used. Britain never used the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with a single shot. Both countries use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the UK uses these two exclusively in their booster rollout.
The results seem to confirm that vaccination and boosters are an effective tool against Omicron. The variant sweeps across the world and risks pushing health systems to the “collapse edge.” said the World Health Organization recently.
It is not clear how long the booster protection will last. UKHSA previously reported that protection against symptomatic disease decreased after 10 weeks – from 70% to 45% – after a Pfizer booster among those who had already taken two doses of Pfizer.
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