Omicron: Dr Hopkins discusses AstraZeneca's protection
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The first analysis of vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant has been published by the UK Health Security Agency. Although it’s still very early, the data so far suggests booster jabs significantly increase protection from symptomatic infections of Omicron. Here’s everything we know so far about the effectiveness of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZenaca booster jabs against Omicron.
Early analysis from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) of more than 500 people suggests two doses of a vaccine don’t offer the best protection against the Omicron variant.
Having a third booster jab can stop people from getting ill with coronavirus symptoms.
Because Omicron seems to be so transmissible, the UK HSA warns it could take over the current dominant Delta variant.
The report finds overall vaccines seem to be less effective against symptomatic infection from Omicron than against Delta, however with three doses of a vaccine it can offer “moderate to high” effectiveness of 70 to 75 percent.
While the study notices vaccines could possibly be less effective against a symptomatic infection, they are still understood to be significantly effective against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
The UKHSA will continue to monitor Omicron carefully and update the data as they learn more.
In their report they say: “Due to the early nature of the findings, all estimates are subject to significant uncertainty and are subject to change.”
Around 22 million people have had their booster jabs so far, and the Government is urging anyone who is eligible to get a third dose of the vaccine to protect against Omicron.
How effective is Pfizer against Omicron?
A booster shot of Pfizer offers 75 percent vaccine effectiveness against Omicron symptoms, according to initial analysis by the UKHSA.
Two doses of Pfizer offer only 30 to 40 percent vaccine effectiveness against a symptomatic infection from Omicron.
How effective is Astrazeneca against Omicron?
If you had an Astrazeneca jab six months ago, the vaccine’s effectiveness against a symptomatic Omicron infection is close to zero, according to the UKHSA.
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However if your first two jabs were Astrazeneca, you can have a Pfizer booster jab, after which you should have 70 percent vaccine effectiveness against becoming ill with symptoms.
How effective is Moderna against Omicron?
There is not yet enough data to analyse how effective Moderna or Janssen jabs are against Omicron.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said: “These early estimates should be treated with caution but they indicate that a few months after the second jab, there is a greater risk of catching the Omicron variant compared to Delta strain.
“The data suggests this risk is significantly reduced following a booster vaccine, so I urge everyone to take up their booster when eligible.
“We expect the vaccines to show higher protection against the serious complications of COVID-19, so if you haven’t yet had your first 2 doses please book an appointment straight away.
“Working from home where possible, consistently wearing masks in crowded or enclosed spaces, washing your hands regularly and isolating and getting tested if you feel unwell are also vitally important in reducing the impact of COVID-19 this winter.”
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