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.
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”.
The new data from Pfizer on vaccine effectiveness against Omicron is encouraging. This reinforces what my medical advisors have been emphasizing: that boosters give you the highest protection yet.
Anyone who is eligible and has not been boosted should go get a booster today.
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2021
Pfizer’s data, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, was posted online on Tuesday and is among the first to be released regarding the ability of the immune system to combat Omicron.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.
MAJOR NEWS! Pfizer confirms that three doses provide strong protection against the Omicron COVID variant! 💪
Pass it on if YOU are boosted and protected!
— Nathan Mackenzie Brown 🌎 (@NathanMackBrown) December 8, 2021
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.
MORE: The study, which was not peer-reviewed, found that omicron likely reduces efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but does not render it ineffective and that a third dose offers even greater protection against the new variant. https://t.co/uewPShC8d1 pic.twitter.com/abXOWdlPDu
— ABC News (@ABC) December 8, 2021