An analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 vaccine booster conducted by researchers in the UK shows the good news, that the booster vaccine is at least 85 percent effective in preventing severe illness from infection with the Omicron variant. Although the protection provided by the Covid-19 vaccine is lower for previous versions of the coronavirus variant. However, it still means that additional doses or booster vaccines for Covid-19 could prevent many people from being hospitalized. The discovery of the Omicron booster vaccine was announced after the third 846,466 doses were administered in the UK as of Sunday (12/19/2021), or at least has been administered to more than 50 percent of the population. The model was created by a research team at Imperial College London based on limited information about the Omicron variant. As is known, vaccines help teach the body how to fight Covid-19 caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, the current Covid-19 vaccine is not designed specifically to fight infection with the Omicron variant, which turns out to have more viral mutations than the original version.
Therefore, in anticipation of infection with Omicron variants that may cause severe illness, the British public is advised to receive a booster dose of vaccine. The purpose of giving an additional or booster dose of this vaccine is to build higher levels of antibodies to fight the virus, in this case, the Omicron virus variant. Antibodies can attach to viruses to stop them from entering cells and replicating or multiplying. Studies have shown, there is a 20 to 40-fold reduction in the ability of antibodies to kill the virus in people vaccinated with two doses.
Imperial College London’s initial study even assumed there would be a decrease in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. Even the effectiveness of booster vaccines in protecting against severe illness from the Omicron variant maybe around 80 percent to 85.9 percent. The effectiveness of the booster vaccine against the Omicron variant is lower when compared to the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine against the Delta variant which reached 97 percent, as well as other Covid variants that currently dominate in the UK.
The booster vaccine will be given on January 1, 2022, for vulnerable groups and the elderly. There are free and paid booster vaccines.
The severity of Covid-19 is due to the Omicron variant, however, there is another part of the immune system, such as T cells, which can also fight Covid-19. This model cannot assess the impact of these cells. Prof Azra Ghani, one of the researchers at Imperial College London said one thing that is not certain is how severe the disease caused by the Omicron variant is compared to that caused by previous variants of the coronavirus. “While it may take several weeks to fully understand this, the government needs to put in place plans now to mitigate the potential impact,” said Prof Ghani. “Our results demonstrate the importance of administering a booster dose (booster vaccine) as part of a wider public health response.”
Dr. Clive Dix, former chair of the UK Vaccine Task Force, said there was a large amount of uncertainty in this modeling regarding the effectiveness of the booster vaccine against the Omicron variant. “We can only be sure about the impact of the booster on Omicron once we get real-world data on hospitalization, ICU (intensive care) rates, and mortality in the next month,” said Dr. Dix. “We still need to get vaccines around the world for now and for the future.
Earlier, the British government had announced that 861,306 doses of the third and booster vaccine were administered in the country last Thursday. So far, this is the highest total daily booster vaccination. This means that now, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, half of all adults in the UK have received a booster vaccine.