sunny.png
Monday November 28th, 2022 3:50PM

US renews push for COVID boosters as data show they protect

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Americans who got the updated COVID-19 booster shots are better protected against symptomatic infection than those who haven’t — at least for now, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Updated boosters rolled out by Pfizer and rival Moderna in September have been a hard sell for vaccine-weary Americans. Only about 13% of U.S. adults so far have gotten a “bivalent” shot that targets the omicron strain and the original coronavirus. On Tuesday, White House officials announced a renewed push for more Americans to get the latest shots.

The first look at the new shots' real-world effectiveness shows they work, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

Speaking at a White House briefing expected to be his last before he retires from the government at the end of year, Fauci said what “may be the final message I give you from this podium is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed about 360,000 COVID-19 tests given to people with coronavirus-like symptoms at drugstores around the country between September, when the new boosters rolled out, and early November. Researchers compared the vaccination status of those who wound up having COVID-19 with those who didn’t.

The new omicron-targeting booster added 30% to 56% protection against symptomatic infection, depending on how many prior vaccinations someone had, how long ago and their age, the CDC concluded.

People getting the greatest benefit are those who'd never had a prior booster, just two doses of the original COVID-19 vaccine at least eight months earlier, said CDC's Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles, who led the study.

But even people who got a summertime booster of the original vaccine before seeking the new fall formula were 30% to 40% more protected than if they’d skipped this latest shot, she said.

“We think about it as the additional benefit or incremental benefit of getting one more dose, and in this case that one more dose is a bivalent,” Link-Gelles said.

The updated boosters target the BA.5 omicron strain that until recently was the most common type, an effort to build on the original COVID-19 vaccines' protection as the virus continues to mutate.

The original shots have offered strong protection against severe disease and death no matter the variant, but protection against mild infection wanes. CDC’s analysis tracked only the first few months of the new boosters’ use so it’s too early to know how long added protection against symptomatic infection lasts.

But “certainly as we enter the holiday season, personally I would want the most possible protection if I’m seeing my parents and grandparents,” Link-Gelles said. “Protection against infection there is going to be really helpful, because you potentially would stop yourself from getting a grandparent or other loved one sick.”

Even protection against severe illness slipped some when BA.5 surged, the reason health authorities have strongly urged older adults and others at high risk not to skip the new booster.

To that end, the Biden administration announced a six-week campaign urging people — especially seniors — to get the boosters, saying the shots could save lives as Americans gather for the holidays.

The campaign echoes a call earlier this week from the American Medical Association and nearly a dozen other health groups for people to hurry up and get both the COVID-19 booster and their yearly flu vaccination. The flu has hit unusually strong and early this year. Combined with COVID-19 cases and other problematic respiratory viruses, hospitals and doctors' offices are packed.

Some people may be reluctant to get vaccinated or boosted because of a torrent of misinformation about the shots despite evidence that they're safe and have saved millions of lives.

“You can decide to trust America's physicians or you can trust some random dude on Twitter,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator.

Fauci said “as a physician it pains me” that the country’s harsh political division has some people refusing vaccination for non-health reasons.

And he noted that while it's important to for people to get the new booster, those most at risk if there's another winter surge will be people who never got the primary vaccine series.

Adding to the uncertainty, relatives of BA.5 are now the the most common coronavirus subtypes. Lab testing from Pfizer and Moderna show the updated booster revs up people’s levels of virus-fighting antibodies, particularly against BA.5. The companies point to preliminary antibody evidence that the new shots also may offer at least some protection against the even newer omicron subtypes, despite not being an exact match.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US renews push for COVID boosters as data show they protect
Americans who have gotten the updated COVID-19 boosters appear better protected against symptomatic infection than those who haven't — at least for now
11:51AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Indonesia quake survivor grieves 11 relatives as he rebuilds
Enjot was tending his cows in the hills around his home when the earth shook, toppling his home, badly hurting his sister-in-law and her two children and killing 11 other of his relatives
11:27AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Greece: Boat with hundreds of migrants safely towed to port
Greek authorities say a dilapidated fishing boat crammed with hundreds of migrants that lost steering and had been drifting in the Mediterranean south of the Greek island of Crete has been successfully towed to port
11:24AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Thai marijuana boosters rally to keep drug decriminalized
Around 200 backers of Thailand’s liberalized marijuana regulations have rallied in Bangkok to protest the possible rollback of the drug's recent decriminalization
10:18AM ( 1 hour ago )
China anti-virus curbs spur fears of global economic impact
The Chinese government says more than 253,000 coronavirus cases have been found in the past three weeks and the daily average is rising
6:49AM ( 5 hours ago )
Widow asks $55M from NCAA for ex-USC football player's death
An attorney for the widow of a former University of Southern California football player has asked a jury to award her more than $50 million in a lawsuit accusing the NCAA with failing to protect her husband from repetitive head trauma
9:57PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Health
Indonesia quake survivor grieves 11 relatives as he rebuilds
Enjot was tending his cows in the hills around his home when the earth shook, toppling his home, badly hurting his sister-in-law and her two children and killing 11 other of his relatives
11:27AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Greece: Boat with hundreds of migrants safely towed to port
Greek authorities say a dilapidated fishing boat crammed with hundreds of migrants that lost steering and had been drifting in the Mediterranean south of the Greek island of Crete has been successfully towed to port
11:24AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Tunisia holds Denmark 0-0 as Arab teams impress at World Cup
Tunisia held European Championship semifinalist Denmark to a 0-0 draw at the World Cup
11:12AM ( 42 minutes ago )
La Scala says Russian opera is not propaganda for Putin
Italy’s premier opera house has defended its decision to stage the Russian opera “Boris Godunov’’ for its gala Dec. 7 season opener
11:11AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Turkey hints new Syria offensive; Russia urges restraint
Turkey’s president has again hinted at a possible new ground offensive in Syria against Kurdish militants, even as Russia urged restraint and called on Ankara to avoid an escalation
11:07AM ( 47 minutes ago )