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Do we have to wait with the booster dose until the omicron vaccine arrives?

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they were launching a clinical trial of the omicron vaccine against the coronavirus, and Moderna confirmed on Wednesday that its clinical trials of the omicron vaccine had entered a second phase.

Omicron is a variant of the coronavirus that spreads around the world significantly faster than the delta and has therefore become the dominant variant in many countries.

With the announcement of the arrival of a vaccine that will be specifically targeted against omicron, many are wondering if they should wait with a booster dose until an vaccine targeted against omicron appears. Do you need to receive a booster if you have a corona at the height of the omicron wave? These and other questions are answered by scientists from George Washington University in the United States.

Do people have to wait with the booster dose until the omicron vaccine comes out?

No, they do not have to. Anyone who can get a booster dose should get it as soon as possible. Here are two main reasons for this: First, there is growing evidence that the booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna provides significant protection against COVID-19. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released three major new studies showing that booster protects against more severe forms of the disease and reduces the risk of coronavirus infection.

According to a study conducted in the period of omicron dominance, receiving a booster dose in 90% of cases protects against hospitalization, which can be compared with 57% protection from hospitalization of people who received two doses less than six months after the second dose. .

Another study, in which researchers studied 13,000 cases of omicron infection, found that people who received three doses were 66% less likely to develop a symptomatic infection than those who received two doses of the vaccine.

Furthermore, vaccines specifically targeted against omicron are still in clinical trials. These tests will take months. Consequently, we still do not know the results of these tests or whether omicron vaccines will be better than previous vaccines. Additionally, the approval of these new vaccines should be awaited. Months and months will pass, and since the Omicron wave is still rising, no one should wait to receive a booster.

If you receive a “regular” booster now, does that mean you will not be able to get an omicron vaccine later?

No. One of the groups of people Pfizer is studying in their studies are people who have taken three doses and will now receive a fourth dose in a clinical trial specifically targeted at omicron.

The company will investigate the effect of the fourth dose. A fourth dose may not be needed as the original booster still provides good protection. But if the omicron booster, in addition to the third dose, is something that provides a much higher level of protection, then the recommendation could be for people to get an omicron booster in the future.

What if someone recently became infected with omicron? Should I still take a regular third, booster dose?

Most people do not know which variant of the coronavirus they are infected with. But because omicron is currently responsible for 99% of new cases of infection, this means that if you have recently become infected, it is probably omicron.

People who have been vaccinated and who have also recovered from the infection appear to have a very high level of protection. However, immunity to the disease varies. Someone who has had severe symptoms may have high levels of antibodies compared to someone who has had an asymptomatic infection. In addition, we do not know how long the protection provided by the disease lasts.

For this reason, the booster is still recommended for anyone who has suffered from covidium. You can receive the booster dose immediately after your isolation period has expired; It is important that you do not have a fever and that your symptoms are mild.

How long does the protection provided by the booster last? Will we need another booster soon?

We do not know. A new study from the University of Texas, published online but not yet reviewed, found that anti-Omicron antibodies remained robust four months after receiving the booster dose.

There are other components of the body’s immune response, T cells and B cells, that could provide protection for months, but so far we do not know when immunity falls after the third dose of the vaccine. This is something that scientists will follow very closely. In the meantime, we have strong evidence that people should get a booster dose.

Will the development of the omicron vaccine help us to reach the end of the pandemic as soon as possible?

We are generally optimistic and believe that the pandemic is coming to an end. COVID-19 will not disappear, it will certainly be with us for a long time, but we will have many more tools to coexist with the virus in a way that will no longer dominate our lives.

The development of new vaccines will certainly be the key to coexistence with COVID-19. We hope that there will be more research on vaccines that target the coronavirus extensively, so that we do not have to worry in the event of new mutations.

However, we think it is good for pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines that target specific variants, especially if we end up with better protection. But we will not know this for months and therefore people really should not delay taking the booster dose anymore.

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