If you haven’t gotten a booster shot following your “full vaccination” with the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines against Covid-19, you probably are not protected against getting sick from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, says a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that “Two shots of Covid-19 vaccine without an additional booster offer essentially no lasting protection against infection with Omicron, and a coronavirus infection is as effective as a recent booster shot in preventing a new Omicron-fueled illness,” reports Corinne Purtill of the Los Angeles Times.
“At the same time, any immunity to the highly contagious variant, either from infection or vaccination, appears to offer significant and lasting protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death, the researchers found. And if you haven’t had either the virus or the vaccine, doctors urged, it’s better to get the jab.”
Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Southern California, “It’s definitely much, much safer to get vaccinated than to get infected. The vaccine is only presenting a small piece of the virus. The whole virus, if you get infected, is going to spread throughout the body, it’s going to cause different symptoms in different body parts and increase your risk for long Covid or a prolonged duration of illness.”
“The immune evasion is so much higher” with Omicron, Abu-Raddad said. It is “essentially a new virus.”
Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California-San Diego, told Purtill that the Qatari researchers have done “a much better job of understanding the decay of the immune response over time than we have” in the U.S.
“Getting Covid right now — if you’re vaccinated up and you’re reasonably healthy — is more of a nuisance than it is a life-threatening event for most people,” Schooley said. “It’s a very different disease from two years ago, when we had a largely non-immune human population, and a virus that was going at you for the first time. Now we have a virus that many of us have either seen through vaccination, or through infection, or a combination of both. The playing field is much more level.”