ATLANTA — With cases of the omicron variant exploding, it’s hard to sift through all the information to know how to best protect yourself and your family. There’s a claim some vaccines work better than others at protecting you from this new variant.
Let’s verify what we know.
Do some COVID-19 vaccines protect you better against the omicron variant?
- The World Health Organization
- Three new multi-national studies on vaccine effectiveness
- 11Alive Medical Correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy
- Dr. Jayne Morgan, Executive Director of the COVID Task Force for Piedmont Healthcare, Inc.
Yes. Experts said data shows getting either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine with a booster shot is your best bet.
What We Found
Across the board, health experts agree all the vaccines that exist provide some protection against severe disease no matter the variant. New information suggests only two vaccine brands, Pfizer and Moderna, provide protection against getting infected with omicron.
“So far, the evidence and data that we have seem to show that the Pfizer and Moderna [vaccines] do have the best protection against omicron. And unfortunately, most of the world has not received Pfizer or Moderna,” Dr. Sujatha Reddy said.
Across the globe, vaccines from AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Johnson & Johnson are more widely available, but three new multinational studies, which haven’t been peer-reviewed yet, show those vaccines don’t do much against omicron.
That global gap could have a big impact on how the pandemic continues, according to experts.
“When one area of the world sneezes, the rest of us are going to feel it,” Dr. Jayne Morgan said. “This is a global pandemic with a virus that is spread by air.”
Morgan said the vaccines do a better job of protecting from the original strain of the COVID virus. But, as the virus changes, she says our vaccines need to change, too.
“Now we’ve had alpha, beta, delta, and omicron, all slightly different versions of the original virus. Omicron is now the one that is the furthest removed from that ancestral strain. What we are seeing is the vaccines are increasingly less effective and have less durability, meaning they’re effective for shorter periods of time,” Morgan said.
So, what does this mean for protecting your family from omicron?
Morgan said the numbers show getting a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine with a booster is your best bet.
“We know absolutely that the booster, certainly from the data from Pfizer, takes you from 35% effectiveness against omicron up to about 75%, and if you mix and match, meaning you mix Pfizer and Moderna, you seem to get a slightly bigger bump in immune protection and effectiveness against this particular omicron variant,” Morgan said.
So, we can Verify the best way to protect yourself and your family against the omicron variant is to get either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine with a booster shot.
If there’s something you want us to verify, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or text the word “VERIFY” to 404-885-7600.