New Evidence Proves the COVID-19 Booster Is Definitely Needed!

New Evidence Proves the COVID-19 Booster Is Definitely Needed!

Pfizer and BioNTech just announced that some preliminary studies seem to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the vaccine boosters are effective and needed in the fight against COVID-19 while the Omicron threat becomes bigger and bigger and the Delta variant continues to spread and destroy lives.

According to the specialists, the third dose of their vaccine is bound to significantly improve people’s protection against the newest variant – Omicron –  as well!

Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen was not at all surprised by these findings.

While chatting with CNN‘s Ana Cabrera, Wen stated that “The data from Pfizer out this morning are not surprising. Actually, this is what we have been anticipating all along, that there’s good news and bad news — the bad news being that there’s some degree of immune escape, that 2 doses might not work as well as against previous variants. But I think that’s really good news that the third dose does appear to give that really significant additional boosting effect. So, it adds more reason for everybody to get a booster, certainly who’s eligible. But also I do hope that our federal health officials will be quick to reevaluate the definition of what it means to be actually fully vaccinated, especially in light of what we’re learning about Omicron.”

Sure enough, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been recommending a booster shot for all citizens of adult age who have already received their two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or their single shot of Johnson & Johnson in the last 2 or more months.

Just yesterday, the US Food and Drug Administration also authorized the Pfizer vaccine for teenagers aged 16-17 years old as well, making this the first younger age group to be authorized for a booster shot in the United States!

Furthermore, it’s important to know that regardless of which vaccine you’ve received before, you can choose a booster of any of the 3 authorized vaccines.

Vaccine makers have been well aware for quite a few months that eventually, there would be a need for a booster vaccine since it’s been proven that the protection of the COVID-19 vaccines gets weaker as time goes on.

Thankfully, a simple booster shot seems to be able to restore people’s immunity right back to its peak!

On Wednesday, two different Israel studies showed that a booster shot of Pfizer was able to not only reduce COVID-19 deaths by 90 percent but also reduce infections tenfold!

They were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and looked into the effects of the country’s booster campaign for everyone over the age of 12 last summer when the Delta variant was just starting to spread.

Severe cases and death amongst fully vaccinated people were already pretty rare but the booster shot was able to lower the numbers even more!

This appears to suggest that the booster is not only able to restore immunity but can also strengthen people’s resistance when facing other new variants.

As a result, some think the definition of “fully vaccinated” should be changed to include three doses (or two, in the case of Johnson & Johnson).

CEO of BioNTech, Uğur Şahin, stated during a news conference on Wednesday that “Particularly with the data now coming for the Omicron variant, it is very clear our vaccine — for the Omicron variant — should be a three-dose vaccine.”

In the US, the definition continues to include all those who have received their second (Pfizer, Moderna) or single shot (Johnson & Johnson) at least two weeks prior.

For the time being, the company is also working on creating an Omicron-specific vaccine and, according to them, it will most likely be available starting with March of 2022.

Regardless, Şahin stressed that people should not wait for it and instead, they should go ahead and receive their booster shots as soon as possible.

Chair of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University School, Dr. William Schaffner, also told CNN about what it should mean to be fully vaccinated in his view: “I think that going from the hard science — which is so encouraging, I’m so glad to hear that information from Pfizer — to public policy and redefining what’s vaccinated, that’s a large leap. Let’s not make these things more complicated than they are at the present time. Changing the requirements of what fully vaccinated means, I think, has all kinds of downstream effects for all kinds of institutions in the country. I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

However, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr, Anthony Fauci, stated that it’s only a matter of time before the definition will officially change.

“It is a technical, almost semantic definition, and it’s the definition for requirements if somebody says, ‘Are you fully vaccinated?’ to be able to attend class in university or college or be able to work at a workplace,” Fauci told CNN.

With that being said, he did mention that the definition will most likely not be altered exceptionally soon.

As far as the benefits of the booster are concerned, Fauci pointed out that regardless of the meaning of “fully vaccinated,” “I do not think anyone would argue that optimal protection’s going to be with a third shot. Whether it officially gets changed in the definition or not, I think that is going to be considered on a daily basis. That’s always on the table. It is going to be a matter of when, not if.”

At this point in time, nearly 26 percent of fully vaccinated adult people in the US have also received their booster shots, as per the CDC.

While a quarter is a really low percentage, compared to data from only a month ago, it’s a huge improvement!

Following Thanksgiving, it seems like the vaccination pace is rising quicker than ever.

In the past week, over 950,000 booster doses, on average, have been administered daily, which accounts for more than half of all doses administered!

Of course, that is still not nearly enough since the CDC guidelines suggest over 144 million adult citizens should be getting their immunity boosted at this point.

In reality, only around 48 million of them have received it.

But as booster shots are widely available in the United States, there are still many countries in the world where they are still focused on getting the first doses administered.

This is such an issue that the World Health Organization has warned against emphasizing the boosters too much.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a WHO Chief Scientist, told in a media briefing that “I think that the message is loud and clear, that it is the primary course of vaccination that’s going to protect against severe disease and death. That has to be our goal.”

She also mentioned that the CDC recommends additional doses for people who are immunocompromised.

Swaminathan then said that among the general public, “unfortunately, even in countries that have adequate supplies or more than adequate supplies, there is still a substantial proportion of people who have not been vaccinated — 30%, 40%, 50% complete the course of vaccination. So, the boosters, unfortunately, are probably not the solution to this. At this point, the benefits we will get from reaching those people who haven’t received primary courses of vaccination are going to be higher than just giving additional doses to those who’ve already completed a primary course.”

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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