Chief Doctor at LCO Reports Vaccines Less Effective Over Time; Booster Shots Necessary
Submitted by Dr. Steve Miszkiewicz
LCO Chief Medical Director
Although COVID-19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination becomes less effective over time, especially in people aged 65 years and older and at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms.
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19. Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the potential for immune evasion.
Recent evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection is also decreasing over time.
This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated, as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta and or Omicron variant.
Data from clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series 6 months earlier or who received a J&J/Janssen single-dose vaccine 2 months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against getting infected with COVID-19, including the Delta or Omicron variant. For Pfizer-BioNTech and J&J/Janssen, clinical trials also showed that a booster shot helped prevent COVID-19 with symptoms.
All patients 16 yrs and older are eligible to get a booster if:
1) they have completed 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine more than 6 months ago.(only vaccine available for under 18 at this time)
2) they have completed 2 doses of Moderna vaccine more than 6 months ago
3) they have received 1 dose of J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago
Natural Immunity is not 100% effective and varies from individual to individual. The CDC recommends getting the vaccine regimen even if you have had Covid and have recovered. We recommend at least one dose of either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine after recovering from the illness and then check antibody response in 4 weeks after the vaccine. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.