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Pfizer Recommends a Total of Three Vaccinations to Fend Off Omicron Variant

Pfizer Recommends a Total of Three Vaccinations to Fend Off Omicron Variant

As we learned from “Schoolhouse Rock,” three is a magic number.

Pfizer/BioNTech says a total of three jabs of their vaccine is likely to protect against infection with the Omicron variant and that two doses may not be enough, according to new laboratory data that will increase pressure to speed up booster programs.

HINES, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 24: Lalain Reyeg administers a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine to Army veteran Gary Nasakaitis at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on September 24, 2021 in Hines, Illinois. Today, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 years and older, those with underlying medical conditions or those who work in high-risk situations. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tests using antibodies in blood samples have given some early insights into how Omicron may escape immunity, and showed a marked drop-off in the presumed protection against infection for people who have had only two doses. The findings suggest that for Omicron, Pfizer/BioNTech should now be viewed as a “three-dose vaccine”.

Pfizer’s data, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, was posted online on Tuesday and is among the first to be released regarding the ability of the immune system to combat Omicron. The scientists tested blood from 19 people who had the Pfizer/BioNTech jab for its ability to neutralize the Omicron variant, and compared this with the response to an earlier form of coronavirus.

The company said they would continue “at full speed” with plans to develop an updated Omicron-based vaccine by March 2022 if needed – and their working presumption is that it will be.

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