Medical Technology

Fauci: Boosters Work Against Omicron

Editor’s note: Get the most recent COVID-19 news and instructions in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Anthony Fauci MD, top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday that there are plenty of booster shots available to fight COVID-19 and lessen the severity of Omicron variant-related diseases.

“Our booster vaccine regimens fight Omicron,” he said at a White House news briefing. “At this point there’s no need for an individual booster for each variant.”

In the weeks since Omicron was first discovered scientists have been trying to gather data on the rate of infection, how severe a disease it causes, and how well available vaccines are effective against it.

Fauci presented research that showed that Omicron boosters significantly reduce hospitalizations, serious illness and other complications.

In one study the third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine increased the levels of antibodies against COVID-19 by 25 times. Researchers from Rockefeller University in New York City discovered that people who had received boosters had 38 times the amount of COVID-19 neutralization activity.

The U.K. Health Security Agency found that the booster is 75% effective against asymptomatic diseases.

“The Omicron variant undoubtedly compromises the effects of two doses of antigens induced by mRNA vaccines and reduces the overall protection,” Fauci said. “However there is significant protection against serious diseases.”

The variant has now been confirmed in 36 states and more than 75 countries.

Rochelle Walensky MD Director of CDC has stated that Omicron is now responsible for around 3 percent of COVID-19 patients in the United States based on national genomic sequencing analysis. However, this is just 3% in some areas, like New York and New Jersey.

Walensky said that Omicron is more transmissible to the Delta variant than the extremely infectious Delta. It takes around 2 days for cases to double.

“In looking at early data on transmissibility of Omicron from other countries, we are expecting to see the percentage of Omicron cases in the U.S. continue to grow in the coming weeks,” she said.

This week, the U.S. has passed 50 million cases and 800,000. deaths due to COVID-19.


News briefing, White House COVID-19 Response team, Dec. 15, 2021

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