There is good news from a study done out of Northwestern University’s School of Medicine regarding COVID booster shots. Scientists found that people who had 2 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and received a booster around 8 months after, saw a jump in antibody production that was 23 times higher than before the booster.
In addition, their antibodies after the booster were 3 times higher compared to people who were measured a few weeks after their second vaccine shot, when antibodies are close to their peak. And they were 53 times higher compared to unvaccinated people who had recovered from COVID 2-6 weeks earlier. Compared to people who had recovered from COVID and then got 2 vaccine shots, they were still 68% higher.
The study leader says “the data demonstrates that no matter how well protected vaccinated people think they are, getting the booster shot is likely to significantly increase their antibodies”. Large antibody responses such as these created by the booster are likely to last longer than just the initial 2 vaccines.
So what about this new Omicron variant? Scientists are scurrying to study it to see how dangerous it might be and whether our current vaccines will protect against it. It has more mutations than any of the other variants seen so far. The Delta variant had 9 mutations. The Omicron has 30-32 mutations, allowing it to spread more quickly. They do know the variant is highly transmissable and there is a possibility that it might be more likely to re-infect people who have already had COVID. Reports from South Africa are that people with the Omicron variant are less severaly ill. But they also have a high rate of vaccination in their population, so it’s unclear whether this is keeping the severity down. Time will tell.
The best option is to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. And if you have, be sure to get that booster. It’s been approved for all adults in the U.S. who are 6 months from their last Pfizer or Moderna shot, or 2 months from the J & J vaccine.