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Booster Vaccines Effective Against Omicron: Fauci

reinforcement against omicron

*U.S. Surpasses 800 Thousand Coronavirus Deaths

By Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].
As the holiday season approaches, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed the importance of those eligible to get a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine, which, he said, works against Omicron, a variant that is increasingly gaining strength in the country.

During a press conference held Wednesday, the official said that, so far, "there is no need for a specific reinforcement for the variant" that has already been detected in at least 36 states of the American Union.

Thus, he stressed that the message remains clear: "if you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. And especially because of the presence of Omicron. If you are fully vaccinated, get the booster.

According to selected in vitro neutralization studies, i.e. the ability of vaccine-induced antibodies to neutralize the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine variant of Omicron, 21 days after the second dose there is a substantial decrease in the neutralizing ability of the pseudovirus. 

However, the doctor pointed out that after the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, protection increases significantly.

He added that, according to the most recent data from the Vaccine Research Center, two weeks after the third dose, a substantial degree of elevation in neutralizing capacity is observed for the Omicron variant. 

In that sense, Fauci pointed out that a third dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, allows to have a 75 percent protection against symptomatic Omicron disease, which also allows to significantly reduce hospitalization for the disease.

"The Omicron variant certainly compromises the effects of a two-dose mRNA vaccine and reduces overall protection. However, considerable protection against severe disease is still maintained," he said.

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the current seven-day daily average of COVID-19-positive cases is about 117,900 cases per day.

While the seven-day average for hospital admissions is about 7,800 per day, an increase of about 7.7 percent over the previous week, while deaths are up to about 1,100 per day, an increase of about 5.0 percent over last week.

"Tragically, this week as a nation, we marked 800,000 deaths from this virus," Walensky said.

He explained that science is understanding the Omicron variant with each passing day. So far, at least 36 states and more than 75 countries have reported confirmed cases caused by the variant.

According to the CDC, while the vast majority of cases remain Delta, which account for about 96 percent nationwide, the Omicron variant is now estimated to account for about 3 percent of cases in the United States.

In some areas of the country, estimates of Omicron are even higher; however, in New York and New Jersey, the CDC predicts that Omicron could account for about 13 percent of all cases.

"As we look at early data on the transmissibility of Omicron from other countries, we expect to see the proportion of cases of this variant here in the United States continue to grow in the coming weeks. Early data suggest that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, with a doubling time of approximately two days."

But what does this mean for individuals and families as we approach the winter months, a time when families can get together for the holidays? "It means it's vital that everyone gets vaccinated and boosted if they're eligible," Walensky detailed.

At the same time, he said, given the increase in transmissibility, it also means that masks must continue to be worn in enclosed public places, in areas of significant or high community transmission. And currently, this represents about 90 percent of all counties in the country.

"Vaccination, booster and the use of masks are especially important for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, pregnant women and the immunocompromised," he stressed.

Just one year after the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S., the country now has more than 200 million Americans fully vaccinated and more than 55 million boosted.

"Right now, as we continue to learn more and are guided by the evolving science, it's important to remember that we have many more tools to fight this virus than we did just a year ago."

You may be interested in: California, one year after the first application of the COVID vaccine

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.

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