A report published today in JAMA Internal Medicine highlights the significance and effectiveness of boosters in keeping persons infected with COVID-19 out of hospitals when new Omicron-specific boosters become available in the U.S.
Data from more than 192,000 persons hospitalized with COVID-19 between January and April 2022—when the original Omicron version was at its worst—in 13 states in the United States were analyzed by the researchers.
Unvaccinated individuals were 10.5 times more likely than fully immunized and boosted individuals to be hospitalized during this period (with the original version of the booster). The likelihood of ending up in the hospital was 2.5 times higher for those who had received the vaccine but not the booster.
According to the study’s authors, this “underscores the relevance” of boosters in averting hospitalizations, major illnesses, and fatalities. Clinicians and public health professionals are urged by the researchers to “continue to promote immunization with all recommended doses for eligible patients.”
The most recent information available from the U.S. indicates that just 48% of eligible individuals have received a first booster shot. Prevention and Control for Disease (CDC).
And although though 80% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, this is insufficient to offer sufficient protection against serious infection.
The protection offered by the vaccines, according to research and studies from the COVID-19 vaccine producers, deteriorates over time.
According to one Moderna study’s findings, vaccine-induced immunity likely peaks shortly after recipients receive the prescribed two doses of the vaccine and gradually declines thereafter.
In the present study, those over 58 years old made up the majority of those who were hospitalized and fully immunized.
Additionally, they were more likely to reside in long-term care facilities and have at least three underlying medical conditions, which may indicate that people with weakened immune systems do not receive the same level of protection from vaccinations and prior infections as healthy individuals do against COVID-19.
Additionally, they are more susceptible to serious infections. All age groups, including this one, saw improved protection after receiving a booster.
The study, led by CDC medical officer Fiona Havers, “gives further support for persons ages 65 and older to stay up to date with their COVID-19 immunization.
” She adds that further precautions, “such as early access to antiviral drugs if eligible, increasing ventilation, being tested, and wearing a mask,” are crucial to preventing hospitalization of elderly or other vulnerable people.
Additionally, compared to white patients, Black and Hispanic patients had lower vaccination rates. The link between race and ethnicity and vaccination status among hospitalized cases should be closely watched, the researchers conclude, given the racial and ethnic differences documented throughout the pandemic.
New Omicron-specific shots created by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were approved by the CDC on September 1 (accessible to adults 18 years and older) (for people ages 12 and up).
Public health professionals predict that the new booster, which replaces the previous one, will play a significant role in providing ongoing protection, even if data on humans have not yet been published.
There is never a terrible moment to get your COVID-19 booster, according to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and I strongly urge you to get it if you are eligible.