FACT FINDERS: How much protection do you have against omicron?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 6:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - So far, medical experts say the initial course of the COVID vaccine is not enough to provide protection against omicron. However, with the booster, it is. Why is it that two MRNA shots are not enough but three shots are?

Right now, many experts believe when it comes to Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines in the fight against omicron, three is the magic number.

Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center says two shots may have been enough against delta but since omicron has so many mutations it may be able to escape immune detection or immune protection.

”It’s sufficiently different that our immune system may not just be sufficiently alerted by the vaccine to protect us. However, a booster gives us monster levels of immunity so even if it’s not highly effective, we got more than enough to do the job,” he said.

So, just how much protection do you have if you are fully vaccinated versus if you are boosted?

Researchers in South Africa found if you have two shots of Pfizer, the vaccine’s effectiveness against stopping an omicron infection is about 30%. Therefore break-through cases will be common.

However, with the booster, another study in the UK found vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection may go up to 70-75%.

It is important to note, data on vaccine effectiveness against Omicron is still emerging and it is still early to know for sure how the immune response is really doing at keeping people from getting sick.

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