New York, U.S. | Xinhua | A booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine would provide enough protection against the Omicron variant while two doses may not be sufficient, said COVID-19 vaccine developers Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE on Wednesday.
Three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine would generate sufficient serum antibodies to neutralize the Omicron variant, said a joint release by the two companies citing results from an initial laboratory study.
The study shows that two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine “may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant.”
However, individuals administered with two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may still be protected against severe forms of diseases resulting from Omicron infection, according to the release.
“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pfizer.
Receiving a booster vaccine after two doses remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to Bourla.
Pfizer and BioNTech continue to work on an adapted vaccine targeting a more lasting and higher level of protection against Omicron, according to Albert Bourla, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
The two companies started to develop an Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 25 and they could deliver an Omicron-based vaccine in March 2022 if needed.
As many as 19 states in the United States have reported Omicron cases and the number is expected to continue to increase, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday.
The United States is also undergoing a rebound of COVID-19 cases with seven-day average new cases exceeding 100,000 in the last few days.