FACT FINDERS: How effective is the Pfizer vaccine against the omicron variant?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 7:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pfizer is out with preliminary laboratory studies that it says show three doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can neutralize the Omicron variant. However, a local expert says this does not paint the whole picture about how effective the Pfizer vaccine is against the new variant.

In fact, Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya with the University of Arizona says the most important data on that front, is still to come. He says when we are looking at the effectiveness of the vaccine, some of the fastest data we can get is on the neutralizing antibodies which is what this new study from Pfizer focuses on. However, while that is important data, he says that is not what is most important when it comes to the question of how sick you could get.

”There’s antibodies and what they call neutralizing antibodies meaning the ones that stick to the virus and keep it from getting inside of cells and that’s the quickest thing that we can measure. But then there’s the thing that really matters which is how well is the immune response doing at keeping people from getting sick and those two things are pretty different,” he said.

So, when will we know how well the vaccine protects us from getting sick? Dr. Bhattacharya says we will not have that information until the variant is out in the real world a little bit longer.

To read Pfizer’s report on the vaccine and Omicron, click here: https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-provide-update-omicron-variant

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